Complaints on Real Property Valuation

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Complaints on Real Property Valuation

Property owners that believe their property is worth less than the value assessed by the County Auditor, can file a complaint on the property valuation. The property valuation is used to determine the amount of property taxes an owner pays. Thus, if the property valuation is too high, then the owner is unnecessarily paying higher property taxes. Distress sales, receiverships, auctions, and Sheriff sales are all transactions where the property valuation is likely higher than the purchase price, necessitating a property valuation complaint. The current property valuation for the property can be viewed on the County Auditor’s website.

Complaints are filed with the Board of Revision for the county where the property is located. The County Auditor’s Office typically has an online form that owners can use to complete their complaint. The annual deadline to file a complaint is November 9th through April 1st for the prior tax year. So, for example, from November 9th 2019 through April 1st, 2020, a complaint would be for tax year 2019, so and so forth. Owners can only file one complaint per property in any given tax year.

On the complaint the owner must detail what they believe the correct value is for their property and note the change in value (difference between the Auditor’s value and the owner’s value). If the owner is seeking a significant reduction in the property’s value, the Board of Revision will notify the school district and provide the district with an opportunity to oppose the proposed new value. If the owner is an entity, the valuation complaint must be signed by an attorney.

The Board of Revision will give the owner notice of a hearing date and typically permits one continuance. At the hearing, the owner will have the burden of proof. Types of evidence to prove value can include a purchase agreement or an appraisal. Some owners retain an appraiser to testify at the hearing as an expert witness as to the correct value of the property. The Board of Revision and school district can cross examine the owner and any of the owner’s witnesses. After the hearing, the Board of Revision issues a written decision. If the owner is not satisfied with the decision, the owner has 30 days to appeal the decision to a Court of Common Pleas or the Board of Tax Appeals.

Each County Board of Revision has rules of practice and procedure, which should be reviewed prior to filing a complaint and participating in the hearing process. These rules cover the specific mechanics of filing a complaint, motions prior to the hearing, hearing procedure, and service of process of all notices and decisions on parties.

The laws governing Ohio Boards of Revisions can be viewed at R.C. Chapter 5715. Additional information can also be obtained from the County Auditor’s website for the county where the property is located. Taking the time to understand a property’s value as compared to a purchase price, and then navigating the valuation complaint process, is a worthy exercise as it may save owners on their property tax bills for years to come.

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