Want to save money? In Ohio, property owners have the opportunity to reduce their real estate property taxes by filing a Complaint Against the Valuation of Real Property with their County's Board of Revision. But all such complaints must be filed no later than March 31st. Miss that deadline and your complaint will be dismissed.
To determine whether or not you should file, you must determine if the value the County Auditor has set for your property is too high. Complaints filed this year are actually challenging the valuation for property as of January 1, 2014. This is because tax bills are paid in arrears in Ohio.
To determine whether your property is valued too high you cannot simply look at the tax value for your neighbor's properties on the Auditor's website. The tax value of other properties is not relevant to the value of your property for appeal purposes, but it might at least give you an idea of whether you should pursue a tax complaint. Instead, you must generally look to comparable sales in the area. To have the best chance of success before the Board of Revision, it is highly recommended you have an appraisal done by a qualified and respected appraiser. Without a professional appraisal, your chances of success are not strong.
If it is determined your value is too high, you must then file the formal complaint with the Board of Revision. The Board will then hold a hearing, where the complainant submits evidence in support of their proposed value. The Board will hear the evidence presented from both sides and issue a decision on the new tax value. A property owner can appeal the Board's decision if the owner disagrees with the new value.
I generally represent property owners in property tax complaints on a contingency fee basis. The fee is a percentage of the first year's tax savings. The property owner is also responsible for any costs, including the cost of an appraisal. Please call or email with any questions. But remember: time is ticking. Complaints must be filed by March 31st this year.