Challenging Times and Challenging Taxes
New Real Estate Tax Bills Coming Soon
During the darkest time of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine challenged the hearts of his countrymen when he wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Those words still ring true today, as we are faced with challenging times and challenging taxes.
Everyone sees and feels the effects of the collapse of the financial markets and receding economy. From a personal standpoint and from a business standpoint, everyone is looking for sources of income and looking for sources to reduce expense. The Dayton Daily News has reported that the City of Dayton lost $153 million in residential value from these reappraisals.
That loss of value creates a major clash between the efforts of governments and school boards to raise real estate taxes and the efforts of property owners to challenge those taxes if they exceed what the property owners believe is the fair market values of their properties.
As everyone knows, counties in Ohio have been conducting their six-year reappraisals in anticipation of their assessing the 2008 real estate taxes that will be billed in January 2009. In some instances, property owners have been given the opportunity to discuss informally the proposed appraisals. In other instances, property owners have been unable to do so or have declined to do so.
Whether or not you engaged in a preliminary discussion on the value of your property, you are legally entitled to challenge that new 2008 valuation by filing a complaint on or before March 31, 2009, with the Board of Revision in the county in which the property is located. This is important because many properties have had significant increases, particularly commercial properties.
We strongly recommend that you engage legal counsel in filing any complaints on these valuations. There are a lot of jurisdictional traps that can otherwise prevent you from having your opportunity to challenge the valuation. You may wish to call your contact attorney at Coolidge, or contact Merle Wilberding (937-449-5772, email@example.com) who is coordinating these complaints and appeals.
In most instances you will need an appraiser to provide expert testimony on comparative values or on the intrinsic value of your property.
You should also keep in mind that all of the school boards have become very aggressive and are continually reviewing property values, especially those properties that have changed hands in the last year or two, to determine if the county’s valuation matches the purchase price. Under Ohio law, school boards (and any county property owner) are entitled to file complaints on other people’s property and assert that their tax valuation should be increased.
Property owners must be aggressive in seeking reductions where they are warranted and must be equally aggressive in defending against the efforts of others to raise these valuations when they are unwarranted. The best dollars spent are the dollars spent at the Board of Revision. It becomes increasingly expensive to pursue appeals in the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals, the Ohio courts, and especially in the Ohio Supreme Court. However, in appropriate cases, these appeals are necessary and can produce rewarding results.
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