Did you know that Ohio has a process that allows property owners to file to have their property taxes reviewed and potentially reduced?
Filing Deadline is March 31
If you feel your real property taxes are too high, you may file a complaint to have your taxes reduced. Under Ohio Law and the Ohio Department of Taxation rules, real property in all Ohio counties is required to be re-appraised 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.
It is important to note that the real property taxes in Ohio are billed and paid “in arrears.” This means that, for example, the property tax bill sent in January of 2015 represents the taxes for the first half of 2014. 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:
- Butler and Clermont Counties are fully reappraised for the current 2014 tax year (2015 tax bill)
- Hamilton County is updated for tax year 2014 (2015 tax bill)
- Warren County will be updated next year for tax year 2015 (2016 tax bill)
Where and When to File
The Board of Revision Complaint must be filed on the official form designated by the Ohio Department of Taxation, Division of Tax Equalization. These forms are available at the local County Auditor’s offices, or can be downloaded online from the local County Auditor’s website.
Complaints may only be filed between January 1st and March 31st to contest the prior year taxes. For example, if a Complaint is filed in 2015, it relates back to the tax value of the property as of January 1st, 2014. If the Complaint is filed even one day late, it will be dismissed.
The Board of Revision 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 as to what an “arm’s-length” transaction is, 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 require and recommend expert testimony from a real estate appraiser (with a written appraisal) be presented. Most local rules require that the appraisal be submitted to the Board and the local Board of Education, no later than ten days 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 to a later date.
If the property owner does not agree with the Board’s decision, it may appeal to either the Board of Tax Appeals or the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.In either event, the Appeal must be filed no later than thirty 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 may also 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.