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COVID-19 Related Real Property Tax Valuation Complaints

Changes to Dates for Valuation and Filing Provide Relief to Certain Ohio Real Property Owners

Gene R. Abercrombie and Anna L. Schroeder

city street with row of commercial buildings   On April 27th, Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill (S.B. 57) that could provide Ohio real property owners and tenants an opportunity for significant real estate tax savings if their property was adversely affected by COVID-19 (aka coronavirus).  Existing Ohio law gives a property owner, and certain other eligible parties, the right to file a complaint with a county board of revision to challenge a valuation or assessment of their property for real estate tax purposes.  However, the filing deadline for this year was March 31, 2021, and such a filing would have valued the property as of January 1, 2020 (i.e., prior to the global pandemic).

Ohio’s New Law for Filing Complaints Against Commercial Real Estate Valuations Impacted by COVID-19

   S.B. 57 temporarily changes Ohio’s board of revision process by extending the time to file a complaint for certain commercial and industrial properties.  An eligible party may file a special COVID-19 related complaint against valuation with the county board of revision requesting that a property’s tax valuation for tax year 2020 be determined as of October 1, 2020. In order to do so, the property’s value between the beginning of 2020 and October 1, 2020, must have been adversely affected “due to a circumstance related to the COVID-19 pandemic or a state COVID-19 order.”  The complaint must “allege with particularity how such a circumstance or order caused the reduction in true value of the property,” and the board of revision will consider such circumstances in its decision to adjust the property’s true value to reflect the diminished valuation. Such a special COVID-19 related complaint must be filed with the board of revision by August 25, 2021 (30 days following S.B. 57’s effective date).

Triennial Filing Rule Waived for COVID-19-Related Complaints

   In addition, S.B. 57 temporarily waives the triennial filing rule for board of revision complaints. Pursuant to existing law, property owners may file a complaint for a particular parcel only once within a three-year interim period, unless certain events, such as the property’s sale, occur. S.B. 57 now waives this rule for COVID-19-related complaints filed for tax year 2020, as well as for valuation complaints filed for tax year 2021 or 2022 that only allege a reduction in property value related to the pandemic or related state orders, allowing such a complaint to be filed regardless of whether that property owner filed any complaint for that parcel for any preceding year in the same interim period.  Just as required for COVID-19-related complaints, complaints filed for tax year 2021 or 2022 must describe a particular property’s reduction in true value due to a particular COVID-19-related circumstance.  A complaint that “merely alleges a general decline in economic or market conditions in the area or region in which the property that is the subject of the complaint is located or alleges any other factor contributing to the reduction other than a circumstance related to the COVID-19 pandemic or a state COVID-19 order” will be dismissed.”

   To learn more about S.B. 57 and the process for filing a COVID-19-related property tax valuation complaint, contact one of the Real Estate Law Practice Group attorneys with the Firm.


Disclaimer: This alert has been prepared by Eastman & Smith Ltd. for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney/client relationship.