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Property tax appeals up in Greene County

More Greene County property owners are challenging their real estate assessments, according to data from the county auditor’s office.

The number of property tax appeals filed by last week’s filing deadline is up 25 percent over last year. According to the auditor’s office, 506 appeals were filed compared to 406 received in 2011.

The auditor attributed the increase to a lag in property assessments compared to the current real estate market. The county only reappraises property every six years. The last county reappraisal occurred in 2008. In between reappraisals, the county updates property values every three years using comparable sales of homes in the area.

“The auditors appraised value is from one point in time,” said county auditor David Graham. “Our values are always older. They are not going to represent today’s values.”

The last triennial update was 2011 when county property values decreased about 6 percent on average, Graham said.

Robin Johnson, a Xenia resident, challenged the $410,000 county assessment on his home in December. After having his home reappraised Johnson submitted an appeal indicating the current value of his home is $360,000.

“I’ve done what I can do to make sure that I’m not overtaxed,” Johnson said.

The Ohio Board of Tax Appeals reported a record number of appeals, 5,200, filed in fiscal year 2012.

The state tax court, which is made up of three governor appointed members, handles tax appeals from every county.

The tax appeal board reports about 90 percent of appeals that it handles are appeals related to county board of revision real property valuations.

In the county, the auditor reviews each appeal filed. If there is enough evidence to support a lower value, the county Board of Revision, which is made up of the auditor, the county treasurer and the a representative of the county commissioners, will send an offer letter.

Otherwise, a hearing is scheduled where the individual filing the appeal will have to present a case for the lower property value.

“It is up to the complainant or property owner to prove their case,” Graham said. “It is not up to the board to evaluate or come up with evidence. We also will look at the information that we have on the property. While we’re not required to do any additional research we almost always do.”

Joe Steuer, owner of R.E. Tax Appeals in Springboro, recommends property owners look at the true market value on their tax bill and ask themselves if they could sell their house for that amount of money today or if the surrounding homes that are similar sell for that amount.

“There are still several homes that are overvalued,” Steuer said. “Most people that are homeowners don’t realize what a valuation means. They don’t understand that the valuation is tied directly into what they pay in taxes.”

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