Tips & Advice

You may be paying too much in real estate taxes!

You may be able to lower your real estate tax bill if your property is valued too high by the Auditor’s office. If you believe this is the case, there is a complaint process administered by the Board of Revision.

What you need to do
Instructions for filing a tax complaint are located on the Franklin County Auditor’s web site. Click here to download the valuation complaint form.

It is very important to fill out the form completely and properly.  If an entity other than an individual is owner of the property, the complaint may need to be signed by an attorney.

You will need to pull up your property record card from the Auditor’s office. Click here to perform a property search on the Auditor’s web site. The information needed to fill out the tax complaint form includes: tax district, parcel number, assessed valuation, owner of property and sales history.

If you have any questions about how fill out the form, or access the required information, contact me by phone at 614.459.5331 or e-mail

The tax valuation complaint process
Typically for residential properties, if the form is filled out properly, submitted and received before the March 31 deadline with an appraisal completed by a state-certified appraiser supporting a lower value, the board will make a decision and either will accept the appraisal value or set up a formal hearing.

If a formal hearing is required, the Board of Revision, a school board representative, and the person filing the tax complaint (and an attorney and/or appraiser) are usually the parties at the hearing.

The Board will review your evidence (usually an appraisal or recent sales of properties or comparable sales of similar properties) for a lower property value. The school board attorney will also have the right to review the evidence and ask questions. The Board then takes the evidence under advisement and will notify by certified mail of their decision.

If the school board is involved, they will either accept the Board’s decision or appeal the case if they are in disagreement. If the school board disagrees, they may elect to have the property appraised for the appeal. The school board has a vested interest in real estate property taxes as they receive most of their funds from these taxes.

The appeals hearing is similar to the first hearing except now there is an opposing side. After all evidence is presented, the board again will take under advisement and notify of their decision later by certified mail.

Remember that the deadline for filing is March 31, 2012.
Taxes are one year in arrears. Therefore, your tax bill that came out in December, 2010, is for the valuation of your property up to 01/01/2010. This means if you have an appraisal for the appeal it should be dated as of 01/01/2011.  If property values dropped in your neighborhood in 2010, this will take effect with your 2011 tax bill.

Be careful to meet the deadline, and have substantial evidence to show a reason for a lower value. This form needs to be notarized. Complaints will only be accepted from December to March 31.

My experience with the process
I have appeared before several boards of revisions on numerous occasions and have found them to be very fair in both the complaint process and their decision.

The Auditor’s office uses a mass appraisal system to determine the value of your property. The system is good, and most are expected to be the correct property valuation, but some are also expected to be high and low.

We at R.F. Berger are dedicated to meticulous client service, priding ourselves in working hard to get the job done right the first time. Click here to order an appraisal online or call us at 614.459.5331 with questions or to set up an appointment.

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