The 2017 tax year was a reappraisal year in Franklin County, Delaware County, and several other Ohio counties. For property owners in these reappraisal counties that may mean higher property tax bills due to changes in the economy since the last “sexennial reappraisal” in 2011. Taxpayers wishing to contest the new fair market value that the county auditor assigned for the 2017 tax year have a short window to contest the valuation that ends on March 31, 2018.
REAPPRAISAL AND UPDATE COUNTIES
The following counties reappraised real estate for the 2017 tax year:
Property owners and local school boards may contest valuation in any Ohio county, but the counties listed above may be particularly ripe for review due to the sexennial reappraisal. Several other counties had a “triennial update” in 2017, meaning that a computer system automatically updated property values for tax purposes. Property owners in the following list of “triennial update counties” should review their property values and consider whether they are accurate as well:
OPPORTUNITIES FOR VALUE REDUCTIONThe reappraisal process is an enormous task for county auditor offices. Franklin County, for example, has over 400,000 parcels of land that the Franklin County Auditor must appraise. With so many parcels to appraise, it should come as no surprise that county auditors in Ohio sometimes make errors in this process.
In light of the potential for errors, property owners contesting their property values may see significant tax savings.
This year there may be additional opportunities due to a recent law change as well, particularly for commercial and leased properties. As we reported at the time, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in June 2017 that an amendment to Ohio Revised Code Section 5713.03 directs that a recent arm’s length sale is no longer conclusive evidence of true value for tax purposes. County boards of revision must now consider appraisal evidence designed to rebut the presumption that a recent arm’s length sale is conclusive evidence of true value for tax purposes.
THE TAX APPEAL PROCESS
Property owners typically receive their 2017 property tax bills in December 2017 or January 2018, depending on the county. If the property owners are dissatisfied with their assessment because it assigns an improperly high value to your real estate, they may file a complaint with the county board of revision in the county where the real estate is located. The complaint sets forth the reasons why the property is overvalued. If the property owner is a business, an attorney must sign the complaint in most situations.
Attorneys may work with property owners to hire a qualified appraiser to appraise real estate and determine if it is overvalued. If so, the appraiser generates a report describing the real property and its value as of the “tax lien date.” For example, Jan. 1, 2017, is the tax lien date for the 2017 tax year.
Within months after the complaint is filed, the county board of revision sets an evidentiary hearing, where an attorney appears on behalf of the property owner to present evidence and witness testimony regarding property value. The appraiser typically testifies on their appraisal report at the hearing.
Following the hearing, the board of revision issues its decision regarding the value of the real property. If necessary, the board of revision’s decision may be appealed to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals, or the county court of common pleas where the property is located.
If you have questions or are interested in opportunities for contesting the value of real estate, please contact one of the attorneys listed below.