With the new year, it’s time to prepare your financial to-do list, which should include a real property tax review.
If you question your appraisal, Ohio has a process that allows property owners to file and have their real property tax values reviewed and potentially reduced. The deadline to file is March 31, 2018.
Property owners concerned that their real property tax values are too high may file a complaint to reduce the tax value. 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, Ohio requires all property values 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 2018 represents the taxes for the first half of 2017. This is important to remember if a real property owner wants to contest the value of taxes.
The current schedule for property reappraisal and update in our local counties is as follows:
- Hamilton County is fully reappraised for the current 2017 tax year (2018 tax bill). This allows all property owners to file a complaint even if another complaint has been filed in the past 3 years.
- Butler County and Warren County are updated for tax year 2017 (2018 tax bill).
- Warren County will be updated next year for tax year 2018 (2019 tax bill).
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 1 and March 31 to contest the prior year tax value. For example, if a complaint is filed in 2018, it relates back to the tax value of the property as of January 1, 2017. 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.
Originally established in 1928 by Irwin I. Aronoff, the firm’s practice has grown and thrived on a commitment to excellence. Our clients vary from large corporations and financial institutions to charitable and other nonprofit organizations. They include real estate developers, builders, banking institutions and individuals. Aronoff, Rosen & Hunt, LPA strives for comprehensive and cost-effective solutions for all our clients thanks to a team of skilled attorneys and professional support staff.
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