PROPERTY OWNERS HAVE A VOICE IN THE PROCESS FOR ADJUSTMENTS & APPEALS
From Dr. Carri Brown, Fairfield County Auditor
Fairfield County has experienced population growth of 8.7% since 2010, reaching a US Census population of 158,921 in 2020. With its close proximity to Columbus, its mix of cities and rural communities, and its historic and natural beauty, Fairfield County is a great place to live. We know people will continue moving into the county.
The current real estate market is a seller’s market. Reports indicate housing more than 2,000 homes in the area. In March 2022, the median home listing in Fairfield County was $265.9K, trending up 15.7% year-over-year, and a typical Fairfield County home listed for $309,950 last month. This trend of increasing prices has been consistent over the past three years, and there are reports of housing sales beyond listed prices.
In 2022, the Fairfield County Auditor’s Office is required to perform a triennial update to determine fair market value of real property. The State of Ohio oversees the triennial update, which considers valid sales that have occurred over the prior three years, a time where 1 in 9 homes in the county have sold. With standardized methods and statistical analysis, a property’s fair market value will be identified. These values will vary among neighborhoods based on market conditions.
In the coming weeks, property owners will receive information in the mail about thenewly state-approved valuation of their property. It is important to keep in mind that an increase in a property’s fair market value does NOT automatically lead to an increase in property taxes owed – nor does it mean there will be a “dollar for dollar” increase. While property value is part of the formula for calculating property taxes, it is not the only variable.
For example, Ohio law provides for reduction factors for voted levies. This means that a factor is applied to reduce taxes due on new market values of existing property to produce the same revenue that was received in the previous year. Communities do see increases in tax revenue by having more taxable property (new construction) or by the voters approving a property tax increase or a new levy.
If a property owner believes a property valuation needs to be adjusted, there are both formal and informal options to appeal for adjustment. With either option, property owners will need to provide evidence about the fair market value of their property if that value differs from the value obtained through the standardized methods and statistical calculations. Options include:
- Requesting an informal hearing to present evidence about the fair market value of the property. Informal hearings will be held in person, virtually, or with phone conferences in July and August.
- Registering a formal complaint with the Board of Revision (BOR). To initiate a property value dispute, a property owner must complete a form called a complaint. The individual(s) completing the form must indicate what they believe the fair market value should be and briefly state a rationale for the requested change. The complaint must be filed with the Auditor’s Office between January 1– March 31.
The BOR is a three-person, quasi-judicial board comprised of the County Auditor, County Treasurer, and a County Commissioner, or their respective designee. The BOR is responsible for conducting hearings wherein relevant facts, legal arguments, and evidence are presented to determine the fair market value of property.
After a complaint is received, a hearing will be scheduled. Parties involved will receive a hearing notice by mail at least two weeks in advance of the hearing. After a hearing, the BOR will issue a decision by mail within 30 days. A party can appeal a decision of the BOR to the Board of Tax Appeals or the County Common Pleas Court.
There are resources available online at co.fairfield.oh.us/ to learn more about the public appraisal of property, the calculation of property taxes, how to schedule an informal meeting with the Auditor’s office, and/or the BOR hearing process. Or call the office at 740-652-7030 and we’ll be happy to answer questions or guide you to more information.