The tax on real property is Ohio's oldest tax, and has been in place since 1825. Over those almost 200 years, Ohio residents have paid property tax based on real property value, termed "ad valorem" tax. The state determines the real property value of Ohio homes by appraising each property anew every six years. Real property auditors assess property values in each of Ohio's 88 counties. The department's Tax Equalization Division oversees the auditors' work. Homeowners can reduce their taxes by taking advantage of available exemptions or appealing their property appraisal.
Claim the homestead exemption if you are eligible. The exemption offers homeowners who are disabled or over 65 years old a reduction of $25,000 from the market value of their principal residence for property tax purposes. For example, a $100,000 home would be taxed as if it were a $75,000 home. Obtain an application from the Ohio Department of Taxation. Submit it at any period between the first Monday in January and the first Monday in June to your county auditor.
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Apply for the Current Agricultural Use Value program if you have real property devoted to commercial agriculture. Ohio auditors normally assess the value of land at its "highest and best" potential use. They value commercial agriculture land that qualifies for this program at its current use value, resulting in a significantly lower tax bill. Obtain an application from the Ohio Department of Taxation. Show that you have at least 10 acres that you use exclusively for commercial farming. Alternatively, show that a parcel under 10 acres yields gross annual income of at least $2,500. File your application with the county auditor. You can find the address of your county auditor from the list on the Department of Taxation website.
Appeal your real property tax valuation. Submit written objections within 60 days of the day you receive your assessment. Follow the instructions regarding filing appeals on the back of the notice of assessment. Include your taxpayer identification number as well as your assessment number. Mail your valuation appeal and supporting documentation to Ohio Department of Taxation PO Box 1090, Columbus, OH 43216-1090. Alternatively, hand deliver the appeal to the Ohio Department of Taxation, at either of two locations: 4485 Northland Ridge Blvd., Columbus, Ohio 43229 or 30 E. Broad St. 20th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43216.
If you plan to appeal your real estate value assessment, arrange an informal telephone or personal conference first. According to the department, they resolve many issues informally.