How to Spell Real Estate Tax Relief in Ohio-“ESOP”, “PTAP” “TOP”…

While paying taxes is still one of the “top 2 certainties” in our lives, and we can’t legally avoid them, there are a number of property tax deferral/loan/grant programs currently in place (or in process) in Ohio offering some relief.

Most counties in Ohio allow taxpayers to pay in installments.

In Cuyahoga County, the “EasyPay” program allows current taxpayers (or those on delinquent tax payment plans) to have their upcoming real estate tax payments automatically deducted from their checking or savings account:

 (i) Monthly - 1/6th of the taxpayer’s estimated future tax bill will be withdrawn from their account around the 5th of each month.  Each January and July the remaining balance due for the period will be withdrawn from their account on the last day of the collection period;

(ii) Semi-Annually - Withdrawals will occur twice a year on the last day of each collection period in January and July.  The taxpayer may elect to have the first payment made on the last business day of December instead of the collection closing date; or

(iii) Annually – The taxpayer’s full year tax amount will be withdrawn either on the last business day in December or the last day of the January tax collection.

Call (216) 443-7420 or log on to:  
for more information.

In Franklin County, the Budget Payment Program allows taxpayers to make monthly prepayments on their semi-annual tax bill. The money paid will be held in an escrow account in the taxpayers name and will automatically be applied to their semi-annual real estate tax bill when it comes due. Payments can be made by personal check, certified check, money order, cash, credit card, or direct debit.
By choosing the monthly direct debit from your checking or saving account the taxpayer can receive an interest credit towards future taxes.
  • The interest earned on the taxpayer’s escrow account is paid at the same rate of return as the Treasurer's investment portfolio.
  • Interest is calculated on all of the taxpayer’s monthly payments from their first direct debit until the tax due date.
  • The interest is credited to the taxpayer’s escrow account, which goes toward their taxes for the next billing cycle.
Should you have questions or require additional information please e-mail the Treasurer, call the Franklin County Budget Payment Unit at 614-525-3438 or log on to:

In Hamilton County, the Treasurer's Optional Payment (Top) Program allows
 residential and commercial  property owners to prepay their real estate taxes in five installments.
 It is similar to an escrow account with a financial institution. There is no service charge associated with the program.

  If interested in the “TOP Program”: Taxes must be current;  both residential and commercial properties qualify; and the Top Program cannot be used to pay taxes already owed.

 Once enrolled in the program, the taxpayer will be sent four prepayment coupons, representing their estimated tax payment. Each month they would mail their one-fifth payment, along with a coupon, to the treasurer's office.  The final statement will be the taxpayer’s tax bill, which will reflect all prepayments made and the final balance due.

 If you would like more information about this program, please call: 513/946-4788 or log on to:

Franklin County has a one-time emergency grant program-“PTAP”
The Senior Citizen Property Tax Assistance Program of Franklin County (PTAP) is a not-for-profit organization with an endowment fund through the Columbus Foundation which has as its purpose, the collection and distribution of funds to assist needy senior citizens and disabled individuals in the payment of their property taxes. These funds are to be provided for tax payments on an emergency basis only. The program is to assist eligible 60 plus year old senior citizens or disabled homeowners on a one-time basis (However, if applicant has a history of property tax delinquency, assistance will be determined on a case-by-case basis).

Income eligibility is to be based on 150% of the Federal Basic Needs Standard.  "Disabled" is defined as a person who is unable to engage in any substantial gainful employment or activity because of a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for an extended period of time. The applicant should be receiving or has applied for disability payments such as SSI, SSD, VA etc.

If you would like more information about this program, log on to:

In Cuyahoga County, “ESOP” is about to unroll (August/September, 2014) its delinquent  property tax loan program

As reported by Sheryl Harris, Consumer Columnist with the Cleveland Plain Dealer in her article “ESOP Offers Loans to Seniors who Fall Behind on Property Taxes: Plain Dealing”, posted on June 27, 2014 (on, eligible Cuyahoga County residents will soon be able to apply for loans to pay off their delinquent tax bills. According to Ms. Harris, “Sometime late this summer, Faith Community United Credit Union, which is administering the loans, will be taking applications from Cuyahoga County residents 55 and older [for 3 year, 10% loans]”. “ESOP refined the idea for the tax loan program with the help of the Clinton Global Initiative. Third Federal kicked in the $200,000 needed to cover the initial loans and associated costs.”

For the complete article by Ms. Harris, log on to: Ms. Harris can be contacted at: 216-316-6832 (c) or

For additional information about the Senior Tax Delinquency Loan Program or ESOP's programs for homeowners, contact ESOP through or call: 216-361-0718.

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