A little complaining – at the right time, in the right way – can be good for property owners.
Ohio has a process that allows property owners to file to have their property tax values reviewed and potentially reduced. The deadline to file is March 31.
Property owners concerned that their real property tax values are too high may file a complaint to have the tax value reduced. Under Ohio Law and the Ohio Department of Taxation rules, real property in all Ohio counties is required to be reappraised every six years. In addition, all property values are required to be updated every three years. The reappraisal and updates will determine the amount of real estate taxes that are required to be paid.
Be sure to note that the real property taxes in Ohio are billed and paid “in arrears,” meaning that, for example, the property tax bill sent in January of 2016 represents the taxes for the first half of 2015. This is important to remember if a real property owner wants to contest the value of taxes.
Where and When to File
A Board of Revision (BOR) complaint must be filed on the official form designated by the Ohio Department of Taxation, Division of Tax Equalization. Aronoff, Rosen and Hunt is pleased to assist you with completion of your forms and official BOR complaint.
Complaints may only be filed between January 1st and March 31st to contest the prior year tax value. For example, if a complaint is filed in 2016, it relates back to the tax value of the property as of January 1st, 2015. If the complaint is filed even one day late, it will be dismissed.
The BOR will hear the complaint based on the property owner’s opinion of value by a three (3) member board, typically in the spring and summer months. If the property owner purchased the property, the purchase price typically establishes the value, unless the sale was not at “arm’s-length.” There are numerous rules to determine an arm’s-length transaction, such as related party transfers.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof to establish value is on the property owner. Unless the property has been the subject of a recent arm’s-length sale, proof of the value normally requires expert testimony from a real estate appraiser (with a written appraisal) be presented. Most local rules require that the appraisal be submitted to the BOR and the local Board of Education, prior to the hearing.
In most cases, the BOR will announce its decision at the time of the hearing. In more complicated cases, the Board may defer its decision.
If the property owner does not agree with the BOR’s decision, it may appeal to either the Board of Tax Appeals or the County Court of Common Pleas in which the real property is located. In either event, the appeal must be filed no later than 30 days from the date of mailing of the decision.
If the decision is favorable, the County Auditor will refund the portion of taxes paid over and above the value of the established property value as of January 1 of the tax year. Property owners also may pay the property taxes based upon the property owners’ value as set forth on its complaint. There is no penalty for paying the taxes in this manner if the owner is successful at the hearing.