The changes to the formula, enacted late last week, will more closely tie tax values to current economic conditions, as well as more accurately value woodlands, Curtis said.
“There will probably still be increases in value and increases in taxes, but they certainly won’t be quite the burden that they would have been without these changes put in place,” Curtis said.
For example, the state farm bureau estimates cropland valuations will be about 26 percent lower, while woodland valuations will be about 54 percent lower for one type of common soil, compared to if the changes had not been implemented, Curtis said. Part of the CAUV evaluation is based on the type of soil on the property.
Those projections apply only to the property valuations, and not the overall tax amount, which can be impacted by local millage rates and other factors.
The changes will be in place in time for the state’s 2015 reappraisals and updates, Curtis said. Clark, Champaign and Logan counties will all be re-evaluated in 2016, he added.
While he wasn’t aware of the specifics, the changes should help, said Tom Tullis, a local farmer and a member of the Champaign County Fair Board. Many farmers in both Clark and Champaign counties saw their taxes double, and in some cases triple after the most recent assessment.
“I’m not saying it will correct all evils, but it sure helps,” Tullis said.
The formula will remain intact, but the changes will allow more recent data to be taken into account when calculating rates, said Shelley Wilson, executive administrator of the Tax Equalization Division of the Ohio Department of Taxation.
“None of them are structural changes to the formula,” Wilson said. “What they are is basically changes that allow us to collect more current economic information so that use values are as closely tied to current farm income as it can be within the structure of our formula.”
Jim Timmons, a Clark County farmer who grows corn and soybeans on about 2,000 acres of land in Springfield and Green townships., said he saw his taxes at least double. Other issues, like school levies, also contributed to the increase, Timmons said. But the CAUV’s affect is important because many farmers statewide would struggle to break even if something wasn’t done to ease the higher tax burden, Timmons said.
Some of Timmons’ property was taxed at between $25 to $30 per acre in the past, but has recently risen to as much as $70 per acre, he said.
Farmers knew farm values and taxes would rise due to high crop prices in recent years, Timmons said. But the steep tax increases, combined with crop prices that have since fallen, put many farmers into an unmanageable situation, he said.
“You can’t stay in farming for long when you make less than what your bills are,” Timmons said.