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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Complaint Questions

I think the Auditor's appraised value is too high for my property. What are my options?
The appraised value, which was just determined by the Auditor's Office as part of the 2020 Triennial Update, is an important part of the property tax calculation. If you feel the appraised value is too high, you may file a complaint with the Franklin County Board of Revision. Filing a BOR complaint entitles you to a hearing before the three-member Board of Revision. At the hearing, you may present information such as recent appraisals or current sales data for similar properties in your neighborhood to support your complaint. BOR complaints must be filed by March 31. Due to public health concerns, all hearings are currently being held virtually via Zoom.

 
How can I get my taxes lowered?
The BOR does not hear complaints regarding taxes, but it does provide property owners with a fair, independent appeal hearing about the property’s market value. You may file a complaint with the Board of Revision until March 31, 2021, for only the current tax year. Taxes are collected a year in arrears. For example, if the calendar year is 2018 then the tax year is 2017.

 
How do I file a complaint?
E-filing is the most efficient way to file a complaint. You may also obtain the DTE 1 form (Complaint against the Valuation of Real Property) at our office or by clicking here. Forms must be filled out completely and accurately and must be signed. Please include an email address and any other contact information. A complaint is considered timely as long as it is postmarked by March 31.  You can submit the form by U.S. mail or in person at: 373 S. High St, 20th floor, Columbus, OH 43215; you can scan your signed complaint and email it to: bor@franklincountyohio.gov; or fax it to: 614-525-6252.

 
How do I complete Line 9 on the form?
While our office cannot provide legal advice on how to complete the form, please see below for an example of a previously completed line 9.
9. The increase or decrease in market value sought.  Counter-Complaints supporting auditor's value may have -0- in Column C.
 
Parcel number Column A
Complaintant's Opinion of Value
(Full Market Value)
Column B
Current Value
(Full Market Value)
Column C
Chage in Value
xxx-xxxxxx 50000 100000 -50000
       
       
Do I need an attorney to file a BOR complaint?
For property deeded to an individual, an attorney is not required. For property deeded to a business entity or a trust, an attorney is strongly recommended. Representation by an attorney is always encouraged. You may also want to consult with a real estate attorney for legal advice.

 
If I am filing on a recent purchase/sale of a property or have a recent appraisal, what documents should I submit with my complaint?
For a recent purchase or sale you would want to submit full (signed) copies of the closing statement, the purchase contract, the deed, and any possible addendums or documents that would support your sale price. For a recent appraisal, you would want to submit a full copy of the appraisal report from a certified state of Ohio appraiser.

 
Why do some cases involve the school district’s Board of Education?
If you’re seeking a reduction of more than $50,000 in market value, by law the BOR must notify the Board of Education for that taxing district. Historically, the BOE does not file on residential, owner-occupied properties.
How far back in time can a BOR decision go?
January 1 of the tax year for which you filed.

 
How long does the process take?
There are many factors that affect how long it takes the BOR to completely process each case: the number of complaints received, how many prior year cases are still pending, statutory time frames the BOR must adhere to (such as sending notice to the Board of Education), and whether the BOE opposes the change in value. Cases not countered by the BOE can typically be scheduled sooner, especially if it’s eligible for a “no hear” (recent sale with supporting documents or recent appraisal) or mediation.  After the hearing, any refund or credit due to overpayment will be issued in approximately two months.
 

 
What is tender pay and how does it work?
If the owner of a property has a pending Board of Revision complaint, they are entitled to tender to the county treasurer an amount of taxes based on the valuation claimed on their complaint. They must request a tender pay for each tax bill collection by contacting the Board of Revision. If the amount tendered is less than the amount decided by the board, interest will be charged on the difference. In addition, if the amount decided by the board equals or exceeds the amount originally billed, a penalty will be charged on the difference between the amount tendered and the final amount. 
A tender pay may also be requested for a pending exemption, by contacting Deputy Auditor Kristi Colapietro at 614-525-3632, or pending abatement, by contacting Deputy Auditor Michelle Merrick at 614-525-4935, to complete this request.
I received my hearing letter but the date does not work for me. Can I reschedule?
By rule, you are allowed one continuance for good cause. Please submit the request in writing. Any continuance request is at the discretion of the Clerk and/or Board of Revision.
 

 
I received my decision letter and received a reduction in value. How long do I have to wait?
We hold all decisions for 35 days in case an appeal is received. If an appeal is not received, the BOR will notify the appraisal department of the change. It will take approximately two months after receiving the file from the BOR for any refunds or credits to be issued. If there is no other party involved (i.e. the Board of Education), we may be able to accept a waiver of appeal and begin processing your case without the 35 day hold. Mediation cases are not subject to a 35 day hold for appeal.



 
What if I don’t agree with the BOR decision?
You have 30 days from the date of the decision letter to file the proper notice of appeal with either the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals or the Court of Common Pleas.  Please note that you must also file a copy of the notice of appeal with the Board of Revision. The BTA DTE 4 form (Notice of Appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals from a Decision of a County Board of Revision) can be found at www.franklincountyauditor.com/real-estate/board-of-revision, or in our office. For specific questions, feel free to visit the Board of Tax Appeals website at www.bta.ohio.gov.

 
Does a BOR value decision carry forward?
In many cases, the decision will carry forward until the next triennial. However, that decision is within the discretion of the BOR.

 
How do I know if the BOR received my complaint?
You may check the status of your complaint on our website at: www.franklincountyauditor.com. Please be advised there is a heavy filing volume in late March; therefore, updates to the webpage may take additional time.
 

Mediation Questions

What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute. This procedure is outside of the hearing process for the Board of Revision. However, the Board of Revision must approve any agreement which is reached in mediation. Due to public health considerations, all mediation sessions are currently conducted by phone. 

 
Why is there mediation?
Mediation is an effort to serve Franklin County property owners by expeditiously resolving as many cases as possible. 

By using mediation, your case will likely be resolved earlier than through the typical Board of Revision hearing.

 
What is a mediation agreement?
A mediation agreement is an agreement to the facts and terms which a complainant requests for the Board of Revision to adopt in its decision.

 
What is a waiver?
A waiver is the complainant's relinquishment of rights to such things as an appeal or the use of an attorney, for example. The complainant does not wish to utilize these types of rights because an acceptable arrangement has been reached and the Board of Revision approves through its decision.
Do I need to pick between mediation and the regular BOR process when I file my complaint?
You do not need to choose between mediation and the regular Board of Revision process when you file your complaint.  The Board of Revision will review the complaint and select the most efficient path for your case.
Is mediation part of the BOR process or a separate means to resolve my valuation issues?
Although mediation is separate from the Board of Revision process, agreements reached in mediation are sent to the Board of Revision for approval or denial. Approved agreements will have a decision letter issued by the Board of Revision. Those agreements which are denied will be set for hearing before the Board of Revision.

 
If the applicant/complainant reaches an agreement in mediation, does she/he have to come to the Board of Revision hearing?
Typically if a mediation agreement is reached and returned timely with the applicant/complainant's signature, then the applicant/complainant would not need to come to the hearing. However, if an agreement is not reached or not returned timely with the applicant/complainant's signature, then the applicant/complainant would have to come to his/her hearing when it is scheduled.

 
Do I need to pay a fee to mediate my case?
You do not need to pay a fee to mediate your case. The Franklin County Auditor's office has contracted mediators to facilitate the mediation process.
 

 
What does the applicant/complainant do in the mediation?
The applicant/complainant needs to be organized and brief in his/her discussion points. Most mediation sessions will revolve around the central issue of valuation for a parcel(s) of real estate. You must be prepared to explain the circumstances surrounding the issues to be mediated in an organized and brief manner.

 
What kind of documentation do I need to submit if my case is selected for mediation?
If you have documentation substantiating the value you have requested in your Board of Revision complaint, then the documentation should be submitted well in advance of the mediation session. Sometimes applicants/complainants will have no documentation. Sometimes applicants/complainants will have appraisals of the parcels in question, comparable sales for the area, or sales documentation for the property in question. You are welcome to submit the documentation you believe will best serve your case but in the interest of time, please be sure the documentation is helpful to your case and on point.

 
Will my concerns be heard in mediation?
Concerns related to the case will be discussed but all parties must work together to stay on point. The amount of time in the mediation session is limited as other cases are awaiting mediation. You must be able to state your concerns in a precise manner. The mediator will assist in facilitating communication on relevant concerns which can have a positive outcome from mediation.

 
What does the mediator do?
The mediator facilitates the communication and negotiation between the parties. The mediator is not your attorney and does not take sides. The mediator helps the parties work through case issues and reach an agreement. The mediator is not a judge. The mediator will not make a determination as to right or wrong or decide the case.
     

 
Who will be in the mediation?
A basic mediation will normally consist of the applicant/complainant, a Franklin County Auditor's office representative, and a mediator. If the Board of Education has counter-filed on a case, then it may be involved in the mediation
How long will the mediation session last?
The mediation will last about 20 minutes. The issues are typically not that complicated and often revolve around agreement on a valuation amount for a parcel of real estate.
 

 
Are mediation communications privileged or confidential?
Once an agreement is reached and signed by all parties, all confidentiality as to documents and any communication is waived and all of the file is then able to be reviewed by the Board of Revision.

 
May I bring someone with me to the mediation?
Currently, all mediation sessions are being conducted with the applicant/complainant on the telephone. Other individuals the parties designate are allowed to accompany them and participate in the mediation. However, this practice may impede progress in the mediation and slow down the process. Please contact the Mediation Division in advance if you want to have someone on the phone with you. Your participation and non-party participation is your consent to keep mediation communications confidential.
     

 
Will our agreement be put in writing?
Yes, the agreement will be put in a written agreement and signed by the applicant/complainant, the Auditor’s representative and the mediator. The mediated agreement will be emailed or mailed by regular mail to the applicant/complainant for signature. The applicant/complainant will then have a deadline to return the original, signed agreement by regular mail to the Mediation Division, 373 S. High St., 20th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

 
Once the mediated agreement is signed, is it final?
Once the agreement is signed by the applicant/complainant, it must be submitted to the Board of Revision for approval. If the mediated agreement is approved by the Board of Revision, a decision letter will be issued to the applicant/complainant indicating the Board of Revision's decision. Often the mediated agreement will be approved with little or no modification, but the Board of Revision has to approve the mediated agreement. Once the decision is entered by the Board of Revision from a typical mediated agreement and waiver of appeal, the matter is final.
     

 
Will the mediator provide me legal advice?
The mediator will not provide legal advice and is not an attorney representing a party.
 

 
Do I need an attorney to mediate?
You do not need an attorney to mediate. You may have an attorney in the mediation but it is not required. Many mediation sessions are held without an attorney.
     

 
As an applicant/complainant, may I have a non-attorney (agent, POA, representative) mediate the case on my behalf?
These matters are much simpler when the complainant handles his/her own case. This matter will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Typically, a power of attorney is acceptable to handle the matter on behalf of the individual (complainant) authorizing the power of attorney.  

For corporations, trusts, limited liability companies, and so forth, typically an attorney, the trustee, or the president of the corporation would need to sign the mediated agreement.

 
How long does it take to have a decision from the Board of Revision?
The Board of Revision will decide the matter as quickly as possible. The time for a decision is normally a few weeks after the mediated agreement is returned timely with the applicant/complainant's signature.

 
What if I am not happy with the settlement agreement?
Decisions have to be made every day by individuals on all types of issues such as property value, economic issues, the price of items to buy or sell, and so forth. The complainant has to decide whether it is better to know, with a high degree of certainty, the value you will likely receive through a mediated agreement, or whether they should  wait for the unknown value to be determined after a full BOR hearing. Once the decision is made by the Board of Revision from a properly signed agreement, the decision is final. Applicants/complainants who are not happy with the terms should not enter an agreement. If no mediated agreement is entered, then the case will be set for full hearing in the regular course of business before the Board of Revision at some later date.
     

 
May I appeal the agreement to the BTA or the Court of Common Pleas?
As part of the agreement in mediation, appeal rights are waived. So the right of appeal goes away because an acceptable agreement has been entered.

 
Is my mediated agreement a matter of public record?
Typically the agreement is a matter of public record as it is part of the decision reached by the Board of Revision. The mediated agreement has to be sent to the Board of Revision for review and approval/denial before a decision on the approval can be entered. If the mediated agreement is not approved, then the case will be eventually set for a hearing.

 

Other Questions

I was charged a $150 rental registration fee. Can I appeal this fee?
You will need to file a DTE 2 form (Complaint against the Assessment of Real Property Other than Market Value). The only portions of the form that must be completed are lines 1, 4, 7, and 10. The form needs to be signed and and can be submitted to the Board of Revision in person or by mail, email, or fax.  A form for owner occupancy, rental registration, or rental exception should also be completed and turned in with the complaint.
 
 How do I qualify for the owner-occupied tax reduction?
The owner-occupied tax reduction is a tax reduction for owner-occupied residential property. Homeowners may receive the supplemental rollback on only one property in Ohio; rental properties are not eligible for the reduction. Most homeowners currently receive the supplemental rollback, as indicated on their tax bills. The State of Ohio reimburses schools and other agencies for the supplemental rollback. Call 614-525-HOME (4663) or email auditorstinziano@franklincountyohio.gov for additional information.

 
 I received a letter from the Board of Revision about a hearing- I never filed a complaint so why did I receive this?
If you did not file the complaint, it was either initiated by the school district or a prior owner. We are required by Ohio law to notify current owners of any pending cases that may affect their property value.  You are not required to be at the hearing or to testify.


 
How do I file a complaint after receiving a denial of homestead exemption or owner-occupied tax reduction??
You can obtain the DTE 106B form (Homestead Exemption and 2 ½% Reduction Complaint) in person at the Board of Revision or at www.franklincountyauditor.com. The form may be submitted in person at the Board of Revision or by mail, email, or fax. You will then be notified by certified mail once a hearing has been scheduled. Please contact our office if there is an address change after you turn in your complaint.

 
How can I determine how much a proposed property tax levy will cost me?
Use the property search feature to access your property information. Select "Tax Calculators" from the menu, and then “Levy Estimator”. Current levy information affecting your property is provided, including a cost estimate