On April 27, 2021, Governor DeWine signed S.B. 57 into law, which allows property owners to reduce their 2020 property tax bills by filing a special “COVID-19 Complaint” with the county due by August 25, 2021. Complaints may be filed beginning July 26, 2021. Additionally, the statutory restriction for filing only one complaint in a 3-year valuation period is suspended, so even property owners who already filed a property valuation complaint within the triennial valuation period can still file a COVID-19 Complaint for 2020. While the opportunity is available to all property owners, businesses in the food and restaurant, retail, hospitality industries and other hard-hit industries will likely be able to reap the largest benefit.
The special COVID-19 Complaint will enable taxpayers to request an October 1, 2020 valuation date instead of the standard January 1, 2020 date, allowing county boards of revision to consider COVID-19’s negative impact on real property values after the January 1 valuation date. In other words, the complaint must reflect a reduction in true value between January 1 and October 1 due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic or a state COVID-19 order.
Special care must be taken in preparing the complaint, as the property owner must allege with particularity how COVID-related circumstances caused a decline in the property’s value. Citing solely to general decline in economic or market conditions could cause the complaint to be dismissed. While not obligated, we recommend taxpayers electing to pursue this opportunity contact an appraiser as soon as possible (or have us contact one on your behalf). Many property owners will likely take advantage of this opportunity and appraisers’ time is expected to fill up quickly.