In Ohio county, auditors must reappraise every parcel of land and building in their county on a repeating 6-year cycle. Both residential and commercial owners can challenge the valuation of their property.
The cycle of evaluation consists of different actions in each of the critical years. Year 1, referred to as the reappraisal year, is when the county auditor conducts a full reassessment of the property values. County auditors assess properties for changes using drive-bys or more frequently aerial view from drones or other aircraft. Once the auditor determines the reappraisal in generally stays in effect for Years 2 & 3. Year 4 is referred to as the update year and is when the county auditors make adjustments to property values based upon data gathered from sales in Years 2 & 3. Values generally remain the same for Years 5 & 6 unless the property is sold or improvements are made to the property.
The owner of real property can challenge the valuation only 1 time every 3 years. The challenge is made by a “Complaint Against Valuation” which is filed with the Board of Revision (BOR). The same form – consisting of 14 questions to be answered by the filer – is used Statewide. It is on each county auditor website and on the Department of Taxation’s website. In Ohio property owners pay taxes on periods of time that have already passed so in challenging property tax valuation in 2018 the property owner is addressing property tax assessed for 2017.
Common reasons for challenging property valuations include: declining market values for similar properties, declining rents coupled with increased expenses and vacancies, property that has become functionally or economically obsolete, and damage or destruction caused by things such as fire, wind, mold, etc. The general rule of thumb is if you feel there is no way that your property could sell for as much as the auditor’s value you should consult an attorney to assist with an appeal. An attorney can help you gather all of the evidence that you will need for an appeal to ensure the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Once an appeal is filed the BOR will take 2 actions. First, if the owner is seeking a value decrease in excess of $50,000 the BOR will notify the local school district. The school district can decide to become involved as the reduction in tax revenue effects its funding. Second, the BOR will schedule a hearing on the application and evidence presented by the property owner in his complaint. These hearings usually occur in the summer and fall months and can last 15-30 minutes. The decisions are usually issued 2-4 weeks after the hearing. If the property owner wishes to appeal that decision it can be made to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals or the local County Court of Common Pleas.
Adapted from Attorney at Law Magazine Vol 4, No. 3, Page 18.