Summit County property owners who don’t agree with the value the county has set for their land will have the chance to challenge it.
Taxpayers who want to file an official complaint to have the property value reviewed face a March 31 deadline.
The Summit County Board of Revision will review the complaints. It is made up of the county executive, fiscal officer and the clerk of courts or their designees.
“The board reviews each complaint that is submitted, hears testimony and weighs all evidence before issuing an opinion,” said Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise. “If warranted, a correction will be issued. This opportunity ensures transparency and fairness in our appraisal process.”
The Board of Revision heard 2,145 complaints in 2013 and 2,569 complaints in 2012. Property owners are permitted to file one complaint in a three-year cycle.
“The biggest complaint heard by the board is that the property owner believes their property valuation is too high,” said Deputy Fiscal Officer Sarah Hegnauer. “Property values fluctuate with the housing market.”
Officials say there is a difference between a complaint about property value and a complaint about real estate taxes. By law the Board of Revision is not permitted to hear complaints about real estate tax bills. Real estate tax bills fluctuate often, despite property values, and are determined by many factors including property appraisal, voter-approved levies and special assessments.
In Summit County, real property is assessed every three years and a physical evaluation of each property is done every six years as part of the state-mandated reappraisal. Property values are determined by analyzing recent comparable sales in the area based on size, location and amenities, such as a finished basement or the addition of a deck or pool. The Real Estate and Appraisal Division also evaluates property when other circumstances affect the value such as damage to the property or razing of structures.
“We receive more complaints at the beginning of the three-year cycle, when the property values have been adjusted and owners experience a change in their tax bill,” Hegnauer said. “We also receive many valuation complaints after a new levy has passed because there is a noticeable increase to the tax bill.”
She said historically, 80 percent of the cases filed are residential or agricultural and 20 percent are commercial or industrial.
The complaint form is called a DTE 1. It can be sent out to taxpayers by calling 330-643-2631 or can be downloaded from the website at http://fiscaloffice.summitoh.net, by going to the Board of Revision Complaint link on the home page.
The form must be filled out, signed, dated, notarized and postmarked by March 31. The forms can be mailed or hand delivered at the Summit County Fiscal Office, 175 S. Main St., Room 302 Akron, 44308 or at the Summit County Board of Revision, 2525 State Road, Room 153, Cuyahoga Falls, 44223.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or email@example.com.