Currently, Ohio is only one of a handful of states that allow a third party to initiate complaints against real property owners. This means that, whether you as a property owner agree or not with your property’s assessed value as determined by your county auditor, a local government entity can file a complaint challenging that value. This means you’ll be forced to spend time and money defending against these complaints and, ultimately, may end up paying more in taxes.
Earlier this week in the House Ways and Means Committee the Ohio Chamber testified in support of House Bill 75. HB 75 requires a local governmental entity to seek local board or legislative approval before a complaint is filed against a real property owner. Most complaints contest the valuation of real property set by the county auditor. The bill also requires the board or legislative body to send a notice to the real property owner at least 14 days before action is taken on the request to file a complaint.
HB 75 does provide a more uniform process of notification to the property owner. It also adds a layer of transparency and accountability before a complaint process starts. Additionally, it opens a two-way channel of communication between the property owner and local officials. This should afford the parties an opportunity to clear up any simple misunderstandings before a costly complaint process is undertaken.
HB 75 mirrors HB 343 in the 132nd General Assembly. The Ohio Chamber also supported HB 343. That bill was passed out of the House but did not receive a vote in the Senate. In our testimony this week we recognized the efforts made in the past to get this legislation adopted into law. While we support this measure, we also stated our preference for a statutory framework that only allows a third party to file counter-complaints.
HB 75 will receive additional hearings in the coming weeks. We will follow the process and advocate for the bill’s passage. HB 75 will help to address one of the Ohio Chamber’s public priorities – the improvement of the tax review process to ensure an efficient and fair tax system.