Residential Tax Abatements
If you are a first-time homebuyer or need help in the home buying process, Cincinnati’s Community Development department offers a variety of programs to help you achieve the American Dream. From financial assistance programs to city-sponsored training sessions, we are eager to help you find and afford the right home.
Cincinnati Residential Tax Abatement

When you build a new home or invest in renovations, your property taxes can go up. The City of Cincinnati’s Residential Property Tax Abatement makes it possible for property owners to minimize the taxes they pay. The Abatement allows owners to pay taxes on the pre-improvement value of their property for 10-15 years. Property tax abatement is available for any increased valuation that results from improvements to the property for new construction and renovation.
The program aims:

  • Stimulate Community Revitalization
  • Retain City Residents
  • Attract Homeowners
  • Reduce Development Costs for Homeownership and Rental Projects

Tax abatement benefits stay with the property the entire length of the abatement and transfer to any new property owner within the approved time period.

Approval

All condominiums and one-, two-, or three-unit structures within the City of Cincinnati—new construction or rehab—may apply for the tax abatement program. A minimum of $2,500 for one- and two-unit structures and $5,000 for three-unit structures must have been spent on eligible activities. The Hamilton County Auditor's Office determines the abatement amount based on the type of improvements as well as what affected tax bill it is applied.
For multi-units that are four units or greater, mixed-use buildings, commercial, and industrial structures, see ChooseCincy.com
An increase or decrease in taxes during the abatement period may result when voted changes in tax rates, state-mandated reappraisals or updates reflecting neighborhood trends are adopted.

An annual exterior inspection is required for all new and existing tax abatements to ensure that the property is being properly maintained. New tax abatement applications may be subject to an exterior inspection prior to final approval by the Department of Community and Economic Development.  If exterior building code violations are observed, the application will be denied. The violations must be corrected before the application will be approved.  Properties will current abatements will have their tax abatement revoked if violations are placed against the property and the violations are not promptly resolved.
 
Please allow at least eight weeks for the City of Cincinnati to respond to your application. Once the City has qualified the property for the program, your application will be forwarded to the Hamilton County Auditor’s Office for certification and valuation. A letter from the Hamilton County Auditor's Office will be received after the Auditor's appraisal has been completed and the abatement is credited to the parcel. This could take several months and up to two years.
 
It should be noted that some types of remodeling do not increase taxable value.  Improvements to the house itself, garage, in-ground pool, decks and patios qualify for abatement.  Any improvements for making a building more structurally sound, more habitable, or for improving the structure is eligible.  Roofing, vinyl siding, windows, gutters and painting may improve the condition of the house but may not increase the taxable value of the property.  Landscaping, retaining walls, driveways and the like do not qualify for the abatement. 

LEED

Longer abatement terms and/or higher maximum abatements may be available for properties that meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.  LEED standards are—in increasing order—Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  The LEED Certificate must accompany the application in order to be eligible for the additional benefits. Additional information regarding obtaining LEED certification may be found on the U.S. Green Building Council website: www.usgbc.org.

LBC

Longer abatement terms and/or higher maximum abatements are available for properties that meet Living Building Challenge (LBC) standards.  LBC standards are – in increasing order – Net Zero, Full, and Petal.  An Energy Petal Achievement is necessary in order to receive the LBC Petal benefits.  The LBC Certificate must accompany the application in order to be eligible for the additional benefits.  Additional information regarding obtaining LBC certification may be found on the Living Building Challenge website: http://living-future.org/lbc

Home Energy Ratings System (HERS) Index

Longer abatement terms may be available for properties that submit before and after HERS Index scores. The HERS Index is an industry standard by which a home's energy efficiency is measured. In order for a remodeled housing unit to be HERS Qualified, an applicant must have a RESNET certified Home Energy Rater conduct an initial home energy rating before construction. If the initial HERS score is equal to or above 85, the applicant must reduce the structure’s index score to at most 70. If the initial HERS score is below 85, the applicant must reduce the structure’s index score by at least 20%. A subsequent home energy rating must show either of these improvements. Documentation for both the initial and subsequent scores must be submitted to qualify. Additional information can be found at the following website: www.hersindex.com


Visitability

Longer abatement terms may be available for new residential construction projects that meet City of Cincinnati Visitability Standards.  Visitability is a concept that encourages the construction and renovation of residences to enable mobility-impaired persons to visit persons in their homes without undue obstacles. To receive the Visitability Certification bonus, property owner must initiate the Visitability Certification process at the beginning of the permit application process with the Department of Buildings and Inspections.

For more information, contact the Department of Community and Economic Development at 513-352-6146 or communitydevelopment@cincinnati-oh.gov. For additional information on how the tax abatement is applied to newly constructed and renovated homes, please consult the table below.

 

Construction Type

Conditions

Maximum Market Improvement Value

Term (years)

Remodeling

Non-LEED/Non-LBC Qualified

$275,000

10

HERS Qualified

$275,000

12

Certified Visitable

$275,000

12

HERS + Visitable

$275,000

14

LEED Certified

$275,000

15

LEED Silver

$400,000

15

LEED Gold or LBC Net Zero

$562,000

15

LEED Platinum, LBC Full, or LBC Petal (must include “Energy Petal”)

No maximum

15

New Construction

Non-LEED/LBC Qualified

$275,000

10

Certified Visitable

$275,000

12

LEED Certified

$275,000

12

LEED Certified and Visitable

$275,000

14

LEED Silver

$400,000

15

LEED Gold or LBC Net Zero

$562,000

15

LEED Platinum, LBC Full, or LBC Petal (must include “Energy Petal”)

No maximum

15

 

Example 

For example, if the owner of a $75,000 ​home makes $25,000 in taxable improvements, the owner is only responsible for taxes based on the home's value prior to improvements, plus or minus changes due to reappraisals, triennials, and/or tax levies for a period of 10 years. If these improvements result in the home becoming Visitable or HERS Qualified, the period extends to 12 years (if both, 14 years).