Ohio Senate Bill (SB) 57 was signed into law on April 27, 2021 by Governor Mike DeWine. Among other changes to Ohio law, SB 57 creates a special property assessment dispute process for the 2020 tax year. The special process is intended to address declines in property values. properties caused by “a circumstance related to the COVID-19 pandemic or the COVID-19 state orders. The main characteristics of the SB 57 are described below.
Ohio property values for a particular year are generally set as of January 1 of that particular year. SB 57, however, allows a 2020 assessment to be challenged to calculate property value as of October 1, 2020. This change provides taxpayers with relief from the impact of COVID-19 on property values in 2020.
Three-year rule not to be respected
Under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) § 5715.19, a property owner may file an administrative complaint challenging property assessment with a County Board of Review (BOR) once every three years. This is commonly referred to as the “triennial rule”. SB 57 allows taxpayers to disregard the three-year rule if the assessment challenge is filed in 2020, 2021, or 2022 and relates to a decrease in property value resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic or state COVID-19 orders.
Disputes must be filed between July 26, 2021 and August 25, 2021
Prior to the enactment of SB 57, challenges to the assessment or assessment of a parcel of land by a county auditor in 2020 had to be made by March 31, 2021. The new rule under SB 57 , however, allows challenging a 2020 assessment to be completed between July 26, 2021 and August 25, 2021.
To be successful on a property value decrease claim, the taxpayer must convince the county BOR that COVID-19 has, in fact, decreased the value of the property in 2020. To do this, the taxpayer must prove how the COVID-19 pandemic or the COVID -19 state ordinances “caused the reduction in the actual value of the property.” State COVID-19 orders include those issued by the Governor, Chief Health Officer, or other authorized state official on or after March 9, 2020. For example, to establish a decrease in the value of the property, the taxpayer could submit evidence such as financial statements (eg, profit/loss statements, cash flow statements) for 2020 and immediately preceding years, reports internal changes reflecting reduced property occupancy for hospitality industry ratepayers, reduced property use for manufacturing industry ratepayers, or forced reductions in business hours due to industry closure orders. statement for taxpayers in the retail or restaurant sector. Arguments citing general market or economic decline are insufficient, however, and will be rejected by the BOR.
Tenants can now file assessment complaints
Historically, only owners and their spouses could file a property assessment complaint. SB 57 expands the list of permitted challengers to include tenants of the landlord if the property is commercial or industrial, the lease obligates the tenant to pay property taxes, and the lease (or the landlord) authorizes the tenant to file a lawsuit.
Take away food
SB 57 provides homeowners with the ability to challenge their property’s assessment if they can show that the value of the property has decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic or state COVID-19 orders. A successful 2020 property assessment challenge means a lower property tax bill for the property owner until another reassessment occurs the following year. However, landowners should expect counter-complaints from affected municipalities and school districts, which rely heavily on property tax revenues, as successful challenges would impact their operating budgets.