• Only One Month Left to Challenge your Ohio Property Tax Assessment
  • March 20, 2015 | Authors: Ann M. Hunt; David M. Kall; Adam C. Smith
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • The deadline is fast approaching to potentially lower your property tax bill. In fact, this past year McDonald Hopkins has achieved significant savings by appealing, or defending against, tax assessments in multiple Ohio counties. In one case, our attorneys successfully defended against a complaint requesting an increase of $4.5 million in property value.

    For tax year 2014, 13 counties in Ohio underwent a reappraisal year, which happens every six years and is known as a “sexennial reappraisal.” This means the county auditor examined the value of the real property as of January 1, 2014 and determined the amount of property taxes payable during the 2015 calendar year. The counties included in the 2014 sexennial reappraisal year are as follows:

    1. Ashland 
    2. Ashtabula        
    3. Athens
    4. Butler
    5. Clermont
    6. Fulton
    7. Greene

    8. Knox 
    9. Madison
    10. Montgomery
    11. Noble 
    12. Summit
    13. Wayne

    Furthermore, the following counties underwent a triennial update, which means a computer system automatically updated the taxable value of the property located within the county:

    1. Auglaize
    2. Clinton
    3. Darke
    4. Defiance
    5. Delaware         
    6. Franklin
    7. Gallia
    8. Geagua
    9. Hamilton
    10. Harden
    11. Harrison
    12. Henry
    13. Jackson
    14. Licking

    15. Mahoning
    16. Mercer
    17. Morrow
    18. Perry
    19. Pickaway
    20. Pike
    21. Preble
    22. Putnam
    23. Richland
    24. Seneca
    25. Shelby
    26. Trumbull 
    27. Vanwert
    28. Wood

    If you believe your assessed value is too high, as determined by county auditor, the property owner may challenge the amount by filing a tax appeal.

    What does the tax appeal process entail? The process starts when the property owner receives the tax bill for tax year 2014, which should have arrived in January of 2015. If the property owner feels that the assessment associated with their property is too high, or if the property was sold in 2014 in an arms-length transaction for an amount less than the assessment, McDonald Hopkins can file a complaint with the Board of Revision within the county where the property at issue is located. The complaint states the basis for why the property owner believes the property to be overvalued. If the property owner is a company, in most situations an attorney must sign the complaint. Next, if an arms length transaction is not involved, McDonald Hopkins will work with the property owner to hire an appraiser to conduct an appraisal of the property to determine if, in fact, the property has been overvalued by the county. If the appraiser determines that the property has been overvalued, the appraiser will author a report that describes the value of the property as of January 1, 2014 and substantiates the reduction in value. Within several months of McDonald Hopkins filing the complaint, the Board of Revision will set a hearing, where the respective attorney will appear with the appraiser and provide testimony as to why the property is overvalued. The Board of Revision will then render a decision.

    An Important Date to Remember. March 31, 2015 is the last day complaints related to a 2014 tax bill may be filed with the respective county Board of Revision. The property owner, therefore, has little time-- only one month-- to decide whether or not to file a complaint. Therefore, as soon as property owners receive their 2014 tax bill, they should start the above-described process, allowing adequate time to prepare the complaint.

    Our attorneys have experience preparing and filing complaints with the Board of Revision and expertise associated with litigating those cases thereafter. McDonald Hopkins has developed a network of outside professionals, such as real estate appraisers, who can assist in preparing evidence to support a challenge of property value before the Board of Revision. In the event the property owner is dissatisfied with a ruling from the Board of Revision, our attorneys have experience appealing those decisions to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals and, if necessary, the Ohio Supreme Court.