CANTON: Stark County Auditor Alan Harold is warning property owners to beware of companies offering to assist with property valuation appeals.
One company is mailing letters to area residents saying the property owner could be overpaying taxes because the county’s value of the property might be in error.
“I have seen solicitations that say owners could be overpaying by thousands of dollars,” Harold said.
Similar letters have been mailed to property owners in counties throughout the state.
Some mailings offer what some companies term “a custom report.” One of these companies charges $159.
“Homeowners can do the research on their own and can file an appeal with the County Board of Revision for no charge” Harold.
The Board of Revision is a three-member panel — county auditor, treasurer and a county commissioner —that reviews property valuations. It does not hear complaints regarding taxes.
“The sole objective of the BOR is to provide the property owner with a fair, independent appeal hearing about the property’s market value” Harold said.
“As a first step, the property owner can review recent sales of comparable properties on our website, simply go to www.auditor.co.stark.oh.us. The information is available and easy to access,” he said.
“Why pay some out-of-town company to provide what anyone can get at no cost?”
Harold noted that no one can offer a “guarantee” or “a very high likelihood” of a value reduction.
“Promises of ‘risk-free’ filings are extremely misleading,” he added. Property owners also can contact a real estate agent who is active in their area for an independent opinion of their property value.
As directed by state law, Harold completed a countywide property reappraisal in 2012. Current values became effective with the first tax bill in 2013. Owners who believe their values are inaccurate should make sure Board of Revision complaint forms are received at the auditor’s office by 4:30 p.m. April 1.
Forms and instructions are available from the auditor’s office, 110 Central Plaza S., Suite 220, Canton, OH 44702, or can be accessed on the auditor’s website.