There is now a new procedure for appealing Board of Tax Appeals (“BTA”).
In an effort to eliminate the vast amount of BTA appeals heard by the Ohio Supreme Court, the statutory process for filing BTA appeals was amended to mandate that all BTA appeals after September 29, 2017, must first be filed with the appropriate court of appeals (i.e., the county in which the taxed property is located or the taxpayer resides). Prior to September 29, 2017, BTA appeals could be filed with either the Ohio Supreme Court or the appropriate court of appeals.
AP Statehouse Correspondent Julie Carr Smyth provides an excellent explanation for the rationale behind the change in the BTA appeal process in her September 29, 2017 article entitled, “Ohio Taxpayers Lose Right to Take Disputes to High Court,” which can be read by clicking here.
So – in general – what is the BTA appeal process now?
- A BTA appeal must first be filed with the appropriate court of appeals.
- A party to the BTA may then file a petition with Ohio Supreme Court to transfer jurisdiction to the Ohio Supreme Court instead. The Ohio Supreme Court may approve the petition and order that the BTA appeal be taken directly to the Ohio Supreme Court if the appeal involves a substantial constitutional question or a question of great general or public interest. It is anticipated that this standard will rarely be met, which is why the appeal statute was amended in the first place.
- If the BTA appeal is not transferred to the Ohio Supreme Court, the appropriate court of appeals will consider the BTA appeal.
- Any party disagreeing with the decision of the appellate court, may then file an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court, which will only accept the appeal if it involves a substantial constitutional question or a question of great general or public interest. Again, it is anticipated that standard will rarely be met.
The details of the new BTA appeal process are set forth in R.C. 5717.04, which can be read by clicking here.
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School districts derive substantial revenue from property taxes. As a result, McGown & Markling recommends that all school districts actively take steps to protect their property valuation – especially when property owners are seeking to reduce property values.
McGown & Markling has experience representing school districts in a variety of property tax valuation disputes, and we are prepared to provide your school district with a free cost-benefit analysis to determine whether it is in your school district’s best interest to challenge one or more decrease complaints. For example, it makes absolutely no sense to waste scarce resources on legal fees if the potential tax decrease is of nominal value, there are political and policy ramifications in challenging the valuation of certain residential and commercial properties, and there are circumstances when certain property valuations actually should be decreased.
“It is very unfortunate that the nature of school funding requires small school districts like ours to rely so heavily on property taxes,” says Crestwood Local School District Treasurer/CFO Jill Rowe. “McGown & Markling provides our school district with thoughtful guidance on when to challenge property valuations by always balancing the interests of our property owners with the interests of the school district so we can continue to provide an excellent system of public education throughout the Crestwood Local Schools.”
Authors: Matthew John Markling and Patrick Vrobel
Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.