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Since ad valorem taxes are based on value, it is imperative to have all property valued periodically on a uniform basis, using a modern system of valuation. Since market value appraisals become the foundation for assessments, equalized values create equalized and uniform taxes. Equalization also creates a more healthful tax climate in the community with the assurance that each taxpayer is paying only his fair share.
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The primary purpose of any revaluation program is to provide equalization between all property owners as well as between all classes of property. Ohio law requires revaluation to be completed every six years for all real property in the County. The program is not intended to increase revenue, but only to equalize values as each property is compared to all others.
In the first phase, data collectors - who are not appraisers - verify and update the County property data file by making an on-site visit to your property. At a later stage, professional appraisers analyze the data in the field and establish the estimated fair market value (the price a willing seller would receive from a willing buyer).
First, please understand that the appraiser does not "set" value; he simply researches the values being set by buyers and sellers in the local market. He then applies his knowledge of the local real estate market and his experience, together with proven methods and procedures for analyzing comparable properties and considering the many factors affecting value. Your property should appraise at the price of comparable properties on the market, plus or minus adjustments for differing factors.
A typical program takes two years to complete, with adjusted tax bills coming out the year after completion. Generally as a result of revaluation, some shares of taxes will go up, some will go down, and some will stay the same. The differences are caused by economic trends that vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, and vary also among classes of property.
The new values simply establish equalization; many other facts of assessment procedures determine the final tax bills. In Ohio, by law, assessed valuations are determined by taking 35% of the market value appraisals; then local tax rates are applied to reach each tax bill. Typically, many of these rates are adjusted after a revaluation to prevent a community-wide inflation of values from causing a large-scale inflation in tax bills.
The County Auditor will announce when the revaluation is complete and the records available for public inspection. If, at that time, you feel that your appraised value is more than what your property would sell for, you have available a number of steps in an administrative appeal process (without spending money or going to court). There are informal hearings with the appraisers, formal appeals with the County Board of Revision, and with the State Board of Tax Appeals.
If these fail, the case could still be taken to court. However, the law requires that you pay as billed, even if you appeal (you receive a refund if it is reduced). Otherwise you would be subject to late charges, even if you received a reduction.