On Wednesday, the Ohio Senate passed amended House Bill 126. In the version passed by the Ohio House, HB 126 would require local governments to use certain procedural steps before a complaint against the assessed value of a parcel of real property could be filed and appealed to the local Board of Revision (BOR). The procedural steps include notification to the owner of the property and a vote by the council, board, etc. to approve the filing of the complaint.
While in the Ohio Senate, HB 126 picked up additional protection for real property owners. A proposal to end the involvement of third parties in the process was floated but ultimately not adopted. This amendment would have placed Ohio with about 46 other states that do not allow third party interference in the real property valuation process. This proposal did lead to the adoption of several amendments that limit the scope of involvement by third parties. Complaints on valuation must be initiated by the real property owner/tenant, and if a complaint is filed, a third party can file a counter complaint.
Amended HB 126 also added language that stops the involvement of third parties at the local BOR level. Once the BOR rules on the valuation of the property, only the owner/tenant can seek a further appeal at the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals (BTA). Under current law, real property owners were faced with expensive appeals brought by third parties to the BTA. These appeals can lead to subpoena requests, additional evidentiary hearings, and the cost of representation. If enacted, HB 126 will end this practice, saving business owners money and time and providing valuation certainty. These changes will take place for tax year 2022.
When the Ohio House returns in January, it will need to vote to concur in the changes. If the House rejects the changes, the bill will be sent to a conference committee to develop a report for a vote in both legislative chambers. If HB 126 goes to a conference committee, additional amendments can be added to the bill.