Many counties in Ohio, Hamilton and Franklin included, have just completed their triennial valuation of real property. In this day and age of falling real estate values and 401(k) balances, saving money is on everyone’s mind. That makes today a good day to review the Auditor’s new value of your property and ask yourself, “Am I paying taxes based upon my property’s correct value?”
Many factors influence property values, and the Auditor’s appraisers, despite their best efforts, are all too often not privy to all the information. The burden therefore falls on the shoulders of the property owner to provide additional information to the Auditor when necessary. In order to do this, a properly completed Complaint Against the Valuation of Real Property form (see links for Hamilton County, Franklin County, and Cuyahoga County forms) must be filed with the Auditor’s office on or before March 31st of the following tax year. This means if you are filing by March 31st of this year, you are actually challenging the valuation of your property as of January 1, 2008. And each county typically has its own set of procedural rules for filing a complaint, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the correct process to avoid dismissal of your case.
While many property owners question whether or not it is worth the time and effort to file a valuation complaint, I think it is important to consider that even a $20,000 reduction in valuation could save you an estimated $1,000 over the next 3 years. For an owner of a commercial or industrial property who has, for example, experienced a dramatic reduction in rents being collected, the savings could be substantially greater. However, while there may be any number of reasons why your property valuation is incorrect (either too low or too high), you must keep in mind that if you do file a complaint, your Auditor could actually end up increasing your valuation if their analysis indicates that your property was under assessed.
If you do have reason to believe your property’s valuation is too high, don’t miss out on your opportunity to present all the pertinent information regarding your property’s valuation to your local Board of Revision before March 31st. The clock is ticking.