Using the Pandemic to Reduce Ohio Real Property Taxes

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Update: Special valuation complaints asserting value for tax year 2020 as of October 1, 2020 due to pandemic-related circumstances must be filed on or before August 25, 2021. Governor Mike DeWine signed SB 57 on April 27, 2021, such that the effective date of the bill is July 26, 2021.

Ohio Senate Bill 57 is headed to the governor’s desk and would allow county boards of revision to consider the COVID-19 pandemic when valuing properties for tax year 2020 for taxpayers filing special complaints challenging 2020 taxes, which are payable in 2021. Absent this legislation, Ohio law values property as of Jan. 1, 2020, for the 2020 tax year, which likely would not reflect circumstances relating to pandemic.

Taxpayers must file a special complaint for tax year 2020 to value a property as of Oct. 1, 2020, if its value is reduced due to COVID-19-related circumstances. The special complaint must be filed within 30 days of the effective date of SB 57, likely sometime this fall, and must state with particularity how the pandemic-related circumstances caused reduced property value.

The rule barring the filing of multiple complaints within the same triennial valuation period would be waived for COVID-19-related complaints and for tax year 2021 or 2022 complaints that allege a value reduction solely due to COVID-19 circumstances.

The new law also permits tenants to file the complaint when the tenant is responsible for the tax. The governor’s signature is the final step necessary for SB 57 to become law.

The bill provides an opportunity for owners of hotels, retail space and other commercial properties to reduce their tax bills to reflect effects of the pandemic. The time period within which to respond is short.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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