Time is Running Out to Challenge House Values in 2014

Real property taxes in Ohio are primarily determined by two numbers - the effective tax rate and the assessed value. When these two numbers are multiplied together for a given property, you get the base real estate tax amount. The effective rate is not generally challengeable. However, there is a standard procedure available to all property owners to challenge the assessed value.

Procedure for Challenging Property Values

There is a standard procedure in place in Ohio to challenge property values. The complaint form is called a DTE FORM 1 (Board of Revision Complaint Form) and is available on most county auditor's websites. The complaint form must be filed between January 1 and March 31 to be considered for the current year. There is no filing fee to file a complaint. However, there are restrictions to prevent habitual filers from filing a Board of Revision Complaint every year on the same property. It is advisable to submit adequate evidence to support the change in value when the complaint is filed.

Each county appoints their own Board of Revision. The Board of Revision reviews all of the complaints that are filed within the proper time period. Upon review, the Board of Revision can agree with the taxpayer and grant the change in value request. Alternatively, the Board of Revision can set the matter for a hearing where more evidence can be submitted to be considered by the Board of Revision.

Types of Evidence to Submit to Support Value

There are several types of evidence that can be used to support a change in real estate tax value. The most common item submitted as evidence is a HUD-1 or settlement statement from the purchase transaction of the subject property. The county is looking for a true determination of fair market value and a recent sales price is one of the best indicators of fair market value. A settlement statement does not guarantee that the Board of Revision will agree with the purchase price as the true fair market value. The second most common item submitted as evidence is an appraisal from a licensed appraiser. This is also a very good indicator of fair market value. Other types of evidence that is good to include would be recent comparable sales, assessed value per square foot of living area, etc.

Completing the Board of Revision Complaint Form

The Board of Revision Complaint form is a one page document that can usually be completed by the property owner. However, attorneys and CPAs can represent the property owner. Lines 1-9 are fairly straightforward except for Line 8. Line 8 of the form asks for several pieces of information and is the crux of the Board of Revision Complaint. The parcel number is the first piece of information that needs to be provided. Under Column A, the requested fair market value amount is inserted here. This number is what the property owner believes is the true fair market value of the subject property. Column B is simply the number in Column A multiplied by 35% which is the requested assessed value for the subject property. Column C is the assessed value that the county currently has listed for the subject property. Column D is simply the difference between Column B and Column C. Lines 10-14 of the form are basic questions to be answered by the property owner. The form needs to be signed and notarized and all evidence attached to the complaint and submitted to the county auditor of where the subject property is located.

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