Residential Tax Abatement (RTA) (*CRA)

Community Reinvestment Area (CRA): Residential Tax Abatement (RTA)

The RTA CRA program offered by the City of Cincinnati makes it possible for property owners to reduce the taxes they pay. The abatement only requires owners to pay taxes on the pre-improvement value of their property for 10 to 15 years. RTAs are available for both building new homes and renovating existing properties. 

Program Goals 

  • Stimulate community revitalization. 
  • Retain city residents. 
  • Attract homeowners. 
  • Reduce development costs for homeownership and rental projects, making homeownership more fiscally attainable and accessible. 
  • Encourage development that revitalizes our housing supply. 
  • Help Cincinnati families grow within their neighborhoods. 

This program recently underwent a meaningful and extensive reform process in 2023 to make RTAs more accessible, prioritize investment in historically marginalized neighborhoods, and incentivize renovations, sustainability, historical preservation, and builds for those with low mobility. * 

Overview of Program 

When you invest in renovations or build a new home, your property taxes go up, adding an additional financial barrier for those hoping to renovate their homes or prospective homeowners hoping to construct a home – in particular, for low- to middle-income homeowners. At DCED, we know this barrier can be the difference between scrapping a project or moving it forward. So, for the last several decades, our Residential Property Tax Abatement program has allowed residents seeking renovations, improvements, or new housing construction, to pay taxes on the pre-improvement value of their property for up to 15 years.  

These tax abatement benefits are available for any increased valuation – as determined by the Hamilton County Auditor – resulting from improvements to the property for new construction and renovation, stay with the property the entire length of the abatement, and transfer to any new property owner within the approved time. 


*Overview of Recent Reforms 

After years of careful study and research conducted by the City, local experts, and community partners, as well as extensive community feedback and a robust legislative process, our RTA CRA program has undergone a major reform process. This reform aims to undercut past issues with the program, especially regarding its leniency toward existing, harmful disinvestment biases. 

In Spring of 2023, the City of Cincinnati began pursuing several concise, grounded, feasible, and results-based changes to help establish a more effective and equitable RTA system; with these reforms, we hope to spur more inclusive, sustainable investment in all our neighborhoods − not just those historically prioritized – rather than pursuing a more one-size-fits-all approach to incentivizing growth. 

Three major changes: 

Change 1: Establishment of a tiered neighborhood system. 

A three-tiered system was created for all neighborhoods (“Lift,” “Expand,” or “Sustain”) to target incentives for communities with the greatest needs. A neighborhood’s designated “tier” would come out of a designation process wherein the neighborhood was assessed against 6 definable criteria. 

Change 2: Streamlining process and increasing access. 

The program is undergoing administrative updates to make it more transparent and accessible, including streamlining the process, creating an online application option,** and targeted outreach directly to low-income communities historically left out of the program. 

**The online application process is still undergoing internal testing; it will be public next week. See below FYI for more details.

Change 3. Bonus incentives for historical preservation, sustainability, and accessibility. 

Historical renovations, sustainable builds, and accessible homes are prioritized and incentivized. 

These changes are the result of years of community engagement, best practice & impact research – the final recommended changes came out of the extensive work of the Property Tax working group. These changes are estimated to bring in over $1 Million in additional revenue to CPS schools. 

These reforms are effective September 1, 2023, and apply to all single-family, two-family, three-family, four-family dwellings and owner-occupied condominiums that commence construction on or after September 1, 2023.

Interested in Applying? Here’s What you Need to Know

FYI: The new and improved online application program will be live soon. When it goes live, a “how to” guide will be uploaded to this page with full details on the usage procedure. In the meantime, we will still accept paper applications (linked below) if you must submit… but encourage you to wait for the online application for a smoother process. Thank you.

Other “need to know”s:

  • Abatement terms commence as soon as the new improvements have been assessed by the Hamilton County Auditor, either partially or fully. 
  • Applications should be submitted once the project is complete, and all permits are closed. In the rare instance that the project is either partially or fully valued by the Hamilton County Auditor prior to project completion, an application may be filed at that time with a copy of the notice of assessment from the County (see application for details). 
  • Again, permit applications must be accepted prior to September 1st to qualify under the previous RTA CRA program (pre-reforms).  
  • Please note that applications should be submitted with a $250 application fee.

For questions about the CRA RTA program, please email


Printed Application: Residential-CRA-Application 

Cincy Insights Residential Tax Abatement Map 


Updated Program (2023+) Links 

For applicants pursuing building permits on or after September 1st. 

2023 Residential Program Changes – Summary 

2023 Residential Program Changes – Ordinance 106-2023 


Pre-Reform (2022) Program Links 

Residential CRA Program Overview – Updated for 2022 

2022 Residential Program Changes FAQs