Bill amends process to challenge property valuations

A bill that amends the process for filing challenges to property valuations has been introduced in the Ohio Senate after passing largely along party lines in the House of Representatives.
House Bill 126 requires a school board or elected officials of a county, municipality or township to pass a resolution supporting a property tax complaint or counter-complaint before filing with the board of revision that will hear the challenge.
Under the bill, the entity filing the complaint must notify the property owner in writing of its intent to challenge the valuation at least 14 days before the resolution is scheduled to be adopted.
The County Auditors’ Association of Ohio supports the bill and offered proponent testimony last month before the House Ways and Means Committee.
“As the law stands today, if a school board or government entity wishes to file a complaint to increase a property’s taxable value, it is not required to communicate with the property owner,” the CAAO says in its testimony. “Since school boards and other jurisdictions are public entities, property owners deserve the opportunity to be heard by their elected representatives before a property value complaint is filed against their property. If the board believes a property’s value is incorrect, they should be able to explain their rationale of value to the property owner in a public setting, before a formal complaint is made. HB 126 would create a channel of communication between the two parties and provide the property owner with ample time to create their own defense in a property value complaint.
“Public entities that receive funding from property taxes deserve the right to challenge property values through the board of revision. This process ensures that property values are accurate and property taxes are equitably distributed.”
Complaints may challenge a property’s assessed valuation for taxes; its zoning classification such as residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial; its eligibility for current agricultural use valuation (CAUV), or as non-business property eligible for a 10 percent rollback.
The vast majority of complaints challenge a property’s assessed value, according to an analysis by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.
Education associations such as the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio Association of School Business Officials, Ohio School Boards Association and Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities oppose the bill.
“School districts and local governments participate in the board of revision process to ensure the values of properties are accurately set. Challenges are made in the interest of all property owners so that one property owner is not forced to pay more than his or her neighbor based on an inaccurate valuation. The BOR process works to ensure that all property owners are paying their fair share. We object to HB 126’s unnecessary changes to this long-standing BOR system. The changes would create an undue burden for school districts and local governments by adding redundancies, increasing costs, and creating new state mandates,” said Katie Johnson, of the association of school business officials.
In the House, the bill passed by a 62-31 vote with three Democats joining Republicans in favor.


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