A so-called “home for the aged” can apply for real estate tax exemption under Section 5709.12 of the Ohio Revised Code. More familiar names for these homes may be residential care facility or nursing home. One requirement for exemption is that the facility “provide services for the life of each resident without regard to the resident’s ability to continue payment for the full cost of the services.”
A recent case from the Board of Tax Appeals reinforces this exemption requirement. See, Antonine Maronite Sisters of Youngstown, Inc. v. McClain, Ohio BTA, Dkt. Nos. 2018-25, 2018-63, 01/07/2020. The resident contract used by the religious order which owned the facility had a provision permitting termination for non-payment. Based on this, the Tax Commissioner denied the application for exemption.
Testimony at the BTA indicated the nuns were unaware of this provision in their generic agreement; once learning of it, they deleted it. Testimony also eliminated the chance that a resident would be terminated due to the sisters’ vowed commitment to the poor. The BTA allowed the exemption.
Not everyone has nuns to testify on their behalf! This case highlights the importance of long-term residential homes making sure that resident agreements do not negate the resident’s continued right to occupy the facility even after their funds are exhausted.