Property owners in Union County are getting letters in the mail from the Union County Auditor’s Office.
The letter includes a street-front photo of the property, a tentative value for the home as well as a schedule for when they could speak with appraisal staff for an informal value review.
Every six years, the county auditor is required to a complete value assessment for every property in the county. Recently, that valuation was completed. Union County Auditor Andrea Weaver said that depending on the area of the county, property values rose between 14% and 28%.
Weaver said the goal is to “bring property values in line with what has been actually happening in the market, as market value is best determined by a recent, arms-length sale,” noting that for taxing purposes, she is required to value property at 92-95% of market value.
While individual property values are on the rise, so is the overall county valuation.
In 2015, the total taxable land in Union County was valued at $1.495 billion. In 2016, with taxes billed and collected in 2017, that total county valuation increased to $1.714 billion.
If the current valuations stand, the county’s total valuation would surpass $2-billion.
The new valuation will appear on tax bills received next year. Weaver said she knows the increase can seem sudden as, in most cases, values have not changed for three years. She added that values won’t change again for another three years, “unless you build on, tear down or file a successful BOR (board of revisions) complaint.”
“At the end of the day, the property owner should ask themselves if they believe they could honestly sell their house for its new value,” Weaver wrote in an e-mail. “If the answer is ‘Yes’, that’s great, because that means our efforts yielded good results and they need to do nothing. Their home has increased in value and that’s a positive thing.”
Those property owners who feel their valuation is incorrect do have options.
Through next week, Weaver’s staff will be hosting informal inquiry sessions.
“The property owner can spend a few minutes learning about the mass appraisal process as well as learn about comparables and such,” Weaver wrote.
While there will be no changes made on the spot, if a property owner has evidence of a sale within the last 24 months, they can bring it to the inquiry and after researchers verify the sale, the value will be changed to the sale price.
“In all other cases, the owner is welcome to discuss their concerns and their properties, but if they still have value concerns and believe the county got it wrong, their best course of action is to file a board of revision complaint,” Weaver wrote.
The county board of revisions hears formal complaints on property valuations and appraisals. Property owners will have until March 31, 2020, to file an appeal contesting their property value.
“The process is simple and straightforward and outlined on our website,” Weaver wrote.
Filing a complaint allows property owners to schedule a hearing in front of the board of revision.
Forms to file the complaint, as well as other information about the board of revisions, are available in the auditor’s office and on the auditor’s website. Completed forms can be returned in person, mailed to the auditor’s office, e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (937) 645-3057.
At the hearing, property owners may present information such as recent appraisals or sales data for similar properties in support of their complaints.
Based on facts and evidence presented at the hearing by the property owner, the board of revision can vote to increase, decrease or retain the property’s current appraised value. Weaver stressed that the burden of proof is on the property owner to show that the auditor’s value is incorrect.
Once the informal meetings are finished, the county auditor will be completing the remaining steps in the process and submitting the final values to the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) for approval.
She said the final values should be approved in mid-November. ODT will also calculate any new tax rates, using the November election results.
“We will calculate the new tax liabilities, making that information available on our website in mid-late December,” Weaver wrote.
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