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Important Information about Filing from Board of Tax Appeals

Before Filing a Real Property Appeal

Consider the Responsibilities
  • Appellants must prove the value sought for the subject property.
  • The “best evidence” of a property’s value is the recent sale of that property between unrelated parties. Recent is generally considered as having occurred within a few years of January 1st of the year being challenged. A party relying on a sale should provide signed copies of the purchase agreement, deed, and/or conveyance fee statement which have been filed with the county recorder/auditor.
  • Without evidence of a recent sale of the subject property, a party should be prepared to submit a formal written appraisal of the subject property:
    • Prepared by a qualified appraiser who must also testify before the BOR or BTA,
    • Performed for tax valuation purposes, and
    • Reflecting an opinion of value “as of” the tax lien date, i.e. January 1st of the year challenged.

Consider the Risks

Appealing a BOR decision places any prior favorable decision made by the BOR at risk:
  • The BTA is not bound by a BOR decision or the amounts claimed by parties.
  • The BTA may increase/decrease/or leave the subject property value unchanged.

BTA proceedings are more formal than BOR hearings; similar to a court of law, the BTA applies stricter procedures and standards that attorneys are more accustomed to complying with.

Consider the Costs
  • Parties incur costs associated with litigation which often exceed the tax in dispute for an outcome that is not assured. Although there is no fee to file an appeal with the BTA, appellants often incur:
    • The cost for attorney representation (although self-representation is allowed) \
    • The cost associated with discovery, i.e., information which may be requested in advance of hearing by other parties
    • The cost of an expert witness to prepare an appraisal and testify as to its conclusion
    • The time and expense of a trip to Columbus for the BTA hearing
    • Generally determinations only affect tax years remaining in the relevant triennial (3-year) period.

Filing an appeal.

An appeal from a decision of a county board of revision should be on DTE Form 4, notice of appeal. This form may be obtained from this website, the county auditor, the county board of revision, or the Division of Tax Equalization of the Department of Taxation. The board has also developed a form, available on this website, which appellants are encouraged to use when pursuing an appeal from a decision of a municipal board of appeal. There is no “form” for appealing decisions of other taxing authorities. No specific appeal form is required by law, however, parties must follow all requirements imposed by the statute granting the opportunity for an appeal. Parties should therefore review and adhere to the statutes setting forth the manner by which an appeal may be filed with the board. Generally, notices of appeal should set forth the full name of the appellant and recite in a clear and concise fashion the matter and amount in controversy, the decision appealed from, the errors complained of, and incorporate or attach a copy of the decision from which the appeal is taken. See, generally, Ohio Adm. Code 5717-1-04. Notices of appeal should also indicate the type of tax involved, e.g., real property tax, personal property tax, sales and/or use tax, personal income tax, income withholding tax, etc. All appeals should include contact information including the mailing address of the appellant or its representative, a telephone and fax number, and email address if available.

An appeal must be filed with the board and the entity from which the appeal is taken in person or by ordinary mail, certified mail, express mail, authorized delivery service or fax transmission. If a notice of appeal is filed in person, ordinary mail or fax transmission, the date of the board’s receipt will constitute the filing date. If a notice of appeal is sent by certified mail, express mail or authorized delivery service, the date of the United States postmark placed on the sender’s receipt by the postal service or the date of receipt recorded by the authorized delivery service shall be treated as the date of filing. For a list of “authorized delivery services” see the Department of Taxation’s website.

Any documents filed with the board must refer to the appeal by both the appellant’s name and the case number assigned the appeal by the Board of Tax Appeals. The document should demonstrate that a copy has been sent to all other parties.

After the appeal is filed.

Once you have filed a notice of appeal with the board, a notice of appeal may be amended, but only within the same time restrictions and in the same manner, as the filing of an original notice of appeal. Appeals cannot be amended, to either correct flaws or expand upon arguments, after the time for filing an appeal has passed.

Upon the filing of an appeal, it is immediately assigned a case number and an attorney examiner, who will monitor its progress. The jurisdictional validity of an appeal, i.e., whether it was properly filed, is always subject to review. An appeal will typically be scheduled for a hearing and the parties will be provided with written notice as to the date and time of the hearing. All hearings are held in the board’s offices on the 24th Floor of the James A.Rhodes State Office Tower, 30 East Broad Street, in Columbus, Ohio.

You do not, however, have to attend your hearing. Attendance at an evidentiary hearing may be waived, in writing, by one or all of the parties. The waiver of appearance at hearing by one party, however, does not preclude the other parties from appearing and presenting evidence. In order for a hearing to be cancelled, the agreement of all parties is required. The failure of an appellant to notify the board of its waiver of hearing can result in the dismissal of the appeal for failure to prosecute. See Ohio Adm. Code5717-1-18.