By: Michael A. Brown, Esq.
If you believe that the county Auditor has established a value for tax purposes for your real property that is too high, you may appeal the valuation. March 31 is the deadline in Ohio to file a complaint with your county Board of Revision.
Property taxes are calculated based on the assessed value of the property. The “assessed value” is 35% of the Market Value, as appraised by the county Auditor every three years. 2014 is a reappraisal year in Hamilton County.
Before you file:
Before you decide to file a complaint, you should obtain some independent evidence on the market value of the property, preferably from an appraiser. The appraiser may be able to provide rough estimate of value without preparing a full appraisal. This allows a property owner to determine whether an appeal is likely to be economically beneficial, considering the cost of the appeal process. If your property is titled in a corporation, a limited liability company or partnership, the complaint must be prepared and filed by an attorney licensed in Ohio.
Filing the complaint:
The Complaint Against Valuation of Real Property is filed with the Board of Revision of the county in which the property is located. The complaint must be filed on the Board of Revision form. The form for Hamilton County may be found here: http://www.hamiltoncountyauditor.org/pdf/borform_2013.pdf. When filing the complaint, you should send along as much documentary evidence of value as possible. Evidence of value can be an appraisal done for the purpose of the appeal, a purchase agreement and settlement statement from a recent sale, or evidence related to damage to the property or other causes of diminishment of value.
Several weeks after the complaint is filed, you will receive a Notice of Hearing from the Board of Revision. The hearings take place at the Board of Revision offices on the third floor of 138 E. Court Street. When it is time for your case in front of the Board you will be sworn in and given the opportunity to present your evidence of value. If an appraisal is part of your evidence, you may want to have the appraiser present to give testimony and answer questions. Also, the School Board will have counsel present to cross examine the appraiser, since they are likely to challenge the lower value. The sessions are fairly informal, and do not require strict conformance with the Rules of Evidence. The Board will often vote and give a verbal decision at the hearing, to be followed by a written decision, which will be mailed to you.
The attorneys of Beckman Weil Shepardson have handled many Board of Revision cases, and are available to assist you should you decide to appeal your valuation.