The continued volatility in real estate presents an opportunity for property owners to reduce their real estate taxes with the local government by seeking to revise their property valuations. Whether the real estate is commercial or residential, overvalued real estate can significantly increase a property owner’s tax liability. This article outlines the process and other considerations involved in challenging a real estate valuation in Kentucky and Ohio.
Before filing a real estate valuation challenge with the applicable government agency, property owners should first obtain an appraisal from an experienced appraiser to determine whether pursuing a challenge is worthwhile. Once the property owner has documentary support that her valuation is too high, she may pursue a formal challenge.
Each state has specific procedural requirements and deadlines to challenge real estate valuations. In Kentucky, property owners have an especially small window. From the first Monday in May of each year until thirteen (13) business days thereafter, the real property tax roll is open for inspection in the county property valuation administrator’s (PVA) office. Property owners desiring to appeal a valuation must first schedule an informal conference with the PVA prior to or during this inspection period. At the conference, the PVA will consider the property owner’s evidence and make a decision whether to adjust the valuation. If the property owner receives an unfavorable decision from the PVA, she may file an appeal with the county Board of Assessment Appeals. The appeal is a formal hearing and the property owner will have the opportunity to present evidence and introduce witnesses.
In Ohio, the process is a little different from that in Kentucky. The property owner must file a specific form (i.e. a Complaint Against the Valuation of Real Property) with the county Board of Revision by March 31 of the year following the year of the tax lien. This form is available on most county web sites. After filing the complaint, the Board of Revision will hold a hearing to determine the real estate’s fair market value. This first hearing in Ohio is more formal than the preliminary conference with the PVA in Kentucky; in Ohio, the property owner will have the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence to the Board of Revision, which will then make a decision and issue a written opinion. In addition, unlike Kentucky, a representative of the local school board may file a counter-complaint arguing against devaluation, and the property owner should be prepared to address the local school board’s claim. The property owner may file an appeal in the event of an unfavorable decision.
Whether in Kentucky or Ohio, property owners must adequately prepare for any hearing or conference and have sufficient evidence supporting their claim, such as recent appraisals, purchase contracts, insurance policies and mortgages. If you are considering a challenge to your real estate valuation, preparation will be the key to success.