REAL ESTATE TAX APPEALS
Most people are familiar with real property taxes. One of the key elements in determining the real estate taxes is the county’s appraisal valuation of the property. Real estate tax appeals challenge the county’s appraisal valuation. A professional real estate appraisal is the best way to challenge the county’s valuation. It is the responsibility of the property owner to prove that the county's valuation is too high. The form used for the appeal (also called a complaint) is the DTE Form 1. This form is available at the Warren County Auditor's office and online at https://www.co.warren.oh.us/auditor/realestate/forms/dte1.pdf. Appeals have to be filed before the end of March and then will be heard by the Board of Revision for your county later in the year.
All Ohio counties have a form of revaluation every three years. Warren County had a triennial update valuation as of January 1, 2015, which is used for the taxes we are paying currently in 2016. Successful valuation appeals in 2016 for the 2015 tax year will lower your taxes for three years in Warren County. Jim Garrett has been conducting appraisals in Warren County for over 30 years and is a trusted professional that can serve your needs well. Current appeals are based on the January 1, 2015 valuation date, not the date of the property inspection.
How do you choose an appraiser? Look for qualifications and local experience. Jim Garrett has been providing top-quality, professional real estate appraisal services in Warren County longer than any other appraiser. The Board of Revision knows the market and your appraiser should also. Qualifications are an indication of the level of skill and dedication a person has to their profession. State Certification is a minimum, but those that have gone the extra mile to obtain more rigorous designations have illustrated they have the understanding and commitment to doing appraisals right. A professional real estate appraiser can't guarantee that the appraisal will be lower than the auditor's valuation. Choosing the right appraiser is more important than getting the lowest appraised value or the lowest fee for the appraisal report. A botched appeal can be costly.
What happens if your appeal fails? There is risk in filing an appeal. The Board of Revision has three options during an appeal. Do nothing, lower the valuation, or raise the valuation. The ability to raise the valuation is designed to keep those appealing honest and keep appeal volumes down. An appeal should be based on facts, not emotions. There are several reasons that people file tax appeals that are unwise. Some examples are:
- My taxes are too high. Everyone thinks their taxes are too high. Taxes themselves can’t be appealed, only the real estate valuation that drives the taxes.
- My value by the Auditor went up 10% and I know my value went down. The current valuation is the only thing that can be appealed. If the Auditor was wrong the last time, it makes no difference.
- I pay more taxes than my next door neighbor and that is not right. You can only argue the value on your house, not the neighbors.
If you believe your taxes are too high, do your home work to see if you think your tax valuation is too high. The Warren County Auditors website is https://www.co.warren.oh.us/auditor/index.htm. This website has excellent search features to find your property and for other properties that have sold. One of the best questions is would you sell your property for the Auditor’s valuation.
I hope that owning real estate in Warren County is a positive experience. If you believe that your real estate is overvalued, the right of appeal is a privilege to be appreciated. If you appeal your valuation, be courteous and respectful during the Board of Appeal hearing as they are doing their job and those hearing the appeal do act as judge and jury.