"TAX TIPS: New appeal process could have implications with upcoming tax reappraisals"

Local businesses and residents may be aware that 2018 is a reappraisal year in Cuyahoga County for real property taxation. Every six years, the Cuyahoga County fiscal officer must reappraise every property in the county. Property values are expected to rise for next year's reappraisal, which could lead to more taxpayers contesting their property values.

Taxpayers contesting their property values may find opportunities to meet informally with their county auditor or fiscal officer to discuss valuation issues. However, business taxpayers usually must file formal complaints with their county board of revision in order to see meaningful adjustments to their property values. Filing a complaint allows taxpayers to schedule a hearing and present recent appraisals or sales data to contest their property values.

Following the hearing, the board of revision issues a decision, which taxpayers may contest through appellate review if necessary. Traditionally, taxpayers typically contest board of revision decisions by appeal to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) in Columbus. Taxpayers then have a right to appeal a BTA determination to either the Ohio Supreme Court or to the county court of appeals where the real property is situated. The vast majority of taxpayers appealing BTA decisions take the Supreme Court route. Thus, since 1939, the Ohio Supreme Court has acted as one, uniform court of last resort for Ohio tax issues across the State.

But an ancillary "rider" provision tucked away in Ohio's biennial budget bill for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 fundamentally changes that uniform tax appeal procedure. The budget bill eliminates the longstanding appeal right from the BTA to the Ohio Supreme Court. Beginning Sept. 29, 2017, when the budget bill takes effect, appeals from the BTA may be made only to one of 12 county courts of appeal (where the realty is located). The loser at the court of appeals may still appeal to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court may accept or deny each case at its discretion.

Click here to read the entire article in Crain's Cleveland Business.

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