Did you recently get slapped with a surprisingly high property tax bill? Consider applying for a reduction of your property’s taxable value at your county’s board of revision. Your property tax bill is calculated as a percentage of the auditor’s assessed value of your property. Every three years, Ohio county auditors re-assess the values of all residential and commercial properties in their counties. This three-year period is called a “triennium.” At the beginning of each triennium, your property value will be re-assessed, and the newly-determined value will apply through the end of that triennium (with a few exceptions). In Hamilton County, Clermont County and Butler County, the current triennium is for tax years 2020 through 2022. In Warren County, the current triennium is for tax years 2019-2021. When the Hamilton, Clermont and Butler County Auditors recently re-assessed property values for the beginning of the new triennium, values skyrocketed. Therefore, so did the tax bills that property owners received in early 2021.
If you feel that your property was valued too highly, you can apply to the county board of revision for a reduction in value. The deadline to file property valuation complaints for any given tax year 2020 is March 31 of the following year. The board of revision will conduct a hearing, and you will bear the burden of proving that your property was over-valued. Hearings before the board of revision usually take place from May through September. The hearings are not as formal as court proceedings, but do involve a recorded presentation of evidence and testimony to a three-member panel of the board of revision. Generally, in order to prove to the board of revision that your property is over-valued, you need to present: (1) recent sales of comparable properties which sold for prices lower than the auditor’s value of your property, or (2) an appraisal, prepared by a licensed professional appraiser, concluding that your property’s value is lower than the auditor’s value of your property. You cannot win the hearing by simply pointing out that your neighbors’ property tax bills are unfairly lower than yours.
If the board of revision reduces your property’s value, the new value will apply through the end of the current triennium. The county auditor will re-assesses properties again at the beginning of the next triennium. In many cases, if the board of revision recently reduced a property’s value, the auditor will also apply that same value for the following triennium. Therefore, by seeking a value reduction just one time, you can save money on your property tax bills for many years into the future. Since property taxes are due by February 5, the best practice is to simply pay your bill in full and, if you are successful at your board of revision hearing, receive a refund for the amount of the reduction.
Although you can file a complaint for a property tax reduction on your own, there are many intricacies to the preparation of the complaint and the eventual hearing. An experienced attorney can navigate this process for you and optimize your opportunity for a value reduction. The deadline to file property valuation complaints for tax year 2020 is March 31, 2021.
Jeffrey A. Levine is a member of Strauss Troy’s Litigation and Corporate/Business Practice Groups. Jeff has litigation experience in state and federal courts and has also served as counsel in complex commercial litigation. In addition, Jeff has extensive experience representing clients before local boards of revision for real estate tax assessment valuations. His corporate practice includes entity formations, mergers and acquisitions, and the preparation of complex corporate agreements. Jeff also assists clients with estate planning matters and probate administration. If you are interested in seeking a property tax reduction, please contact Jeff Levine at JALevine@strausstroy.com or 513-629-9425.