The forms used to file a challenge to your property value must be in your county auditor’s office – not postmarked - by March 31. The forms can be picked up at the auditor’s office or may be available for downloading from the auditor’s Web site.
The property taxes payable in 2009 are by law based on the value of property on Jan. 1, 2008 – the tax lien date.
“It is also important when comparing a fee appraisal with the value of that particular property on the tax duplicate that it be for this same timeframe,” says Michael Sibbersen, Wood County Auditor.
Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez has included a video on her office’s Web site to acquaint property owners with what to expect at a hearing before a Board of Revision, which includes the auditor, county treasurer, and president of the board of county commissioners or their designated representatives.
After a complaint has been filed, property owners will receive a hearing notice by certified letter.
The burden of proving a lower valuation rests with the property owner, officials say, and copies of your evidence should be furnished to the Board of Revision prior to your hearing date.
Ms. Lopez also offers some guidelines on her office’s Web site for property owners considering a challenge:
• A Board or Revision will not consider a challenge complaint based solely on your dissatisfaction with higher taxes,
• If in a particular complaint, the decrease/increase sought is in excess of $17,500, each school board involved must be notified by the auditor and the board has 30 days to file a counter-complaint. A hearing won’t be scheduled until the 30 days have elapsed.
• If real estate is owned by a firm, corporation, partnership, or trust the complaint may be filed with the Board of Revision by a salaried employee, officer, partner, or trustee but they can’t practice law at the hearing. In such cases, it is suggested you consult with an attorney.
• Forms must be signed and notarized.
If your valuation is reduced don’t expect an equivalent reduction in your property taxes, Mr. Sibbersen warns.
Some special assessments, for example, can be fixed charges and won’t vary while others are based on valuations.
“A 10 percent reduction in valuation does not necessarily equate to a 10 percent reduction in taxes,” he said.
JoEllen Regal, Ottawa County Auditor, said property owners should review the tax rates of their jurisdictions.
“A lower valuation is definitely not going to result in a dollar-for-dollar reduction drop in your taxes because you don’t pay property taxes dollar-for-dollar on your valuation,” she said. “It depends on your tax rates.”