Tax bills are hitting mailboxes next week in Hamilton County and in them entirely new valuations. This year, every property in Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Montgomery Counties will have wholly new valuations. We have written on these new valuation changes here and here, including a free “how-to” webinar.

On January 19th from 10 AM to noon, Finney Law Firm founder, attorney Chris Finney, with teach a free seminar on property tax valuation reduction with Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes for the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.  Auditor Rhodes has been gracious to co-teach these classes providing the public information on valuation reductions with Chris Finney for a decade.  Anyone can log in for the course: business owners, individual property owner, Realtors, etc.

The link for sign ups for the seminar is here.

President Trump signed into law at the very end of 2020 another COVID-19 stimulus bill. Much of the writing about it has focused on the $600 direct payments to to individuals whose income falls below a certain thresholds. but this bill also contains important subsidies and changes for small businesses, including a new and significant second round of direct payments to small businesses payments under the Paycheck Protection Program (loans later forgiven).

Finney Law Firm attorney Rebecca Heimlich will follow up on her blockbuster Spring performances on the initial PPP with information on the new stimulus programs, and be joined by Seth Morgan of the MLA Companies, a financial service and advisory group on Wednesday, January 13th from 6:00 to 7:15 PM via live webinar.

The Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors is also co-hosting the webinar.

Webinar topics include:

  • Second round PPP:
    • Amounts (including increased amounts for restaurants)
    • Eligibility (much tighter than round #1).
    • Expanded qualifying expenses for Round #2.
    • Forgiveness.
  • First and second round PPP tax deductibility.

Click here to register.

For assistance with the PPP or more information, contact Rebecca Heimlich (‭513-797-2856). Also contact her if there is anything more we can do to help your small business.

2020 will certainly be remembered as a year of great challenges for our country and world: COVID-19 Pandemic, urban riots, a raucous Presidential election and terrible economic challenges for many workers and business owners. But in the midst of that upheaval, Finney Law Firm has been proud to be a part of the solution for our clients and community, once again “Making a Difference.”.

Please let us know how we can help you build your business, avoid or mitigate costly litigation battles, and confront overzealous government actors.

Our entire team is as ready in 2021 as they were in 2020.

As we explained previously, the pandemic relief bill that has been approved by both Houses of Congress, but still awaits the President’s signature, contains good and bad for our nation’s market-rate residential landlords. From the article:

  • It extends the CDC eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021 (and it is expected to be extended further from there under the Biden Administration).
  • Tenants can qualify for up to 15 months of federal rental assistance.
  • The criteria for qualification are not clear as of yet.
  • This assistance partly will cover months of unpaid back rent, rewarding landlords who have not evicted during the COVID-19 pandemic. A landlord cannot get back rent if the tenant has already left.
  • Rental assistance money will be distributed by states and cities.
  • Renters will apply for the help, and the money will be sent directly to their landlords. If a landlord doesn’t cooperate, the tenant can access the funds directly.
  • Renters looking for assistance can call 211 or go to the website www.211.org. It’s a confidential referral and information help line and web site.

So, the landscape will be changing soon very significantly in the relationship between landlord and tenant in the affordable housing sphere.

We will post more detail as it becomes available.

Contact Chris Finney (513.943.6655) if you have questions.

There is a flurry of concern arising from the notices hitting mailboxes in Hamilton County from County Auditor Dusty Rhodes telling property owners of their new valuations for the 2021 tax bills. The notice shows the prior 2019 value (2020 tax bill) of your home or business property and your new 2020 valuation (2021 tax bill).

The valuation increases average 15%, but some property owners we are hearing from are seeking hikes more than 25% on specific properties.

Naturally, taxpayers are assuming that means their tax bill will in fact go up that same percentage. But that actually is not so, not at all. Let us explain:

  • The simplistic formula for determining your tax bill is: Property tax = property valuation * tax rate for more than 15 tax levies. Then take the sum of each of those individual calculations. The sum of these individual levy calculations plus a “kicker” for something called “inside millage” for the City, Village or Township and the School District — less a host of credits and adjustments — equal your tax bill. (The inside millage is about 10% of your total tax rate.)
  • Other than the inside millage, most (not all) of the levies generate a fixed, flat amount of income each year for the tax entity (for example, $10 million per year for a school operating levy or $15 million per year for a mental health levy). Saying it another way, total levy revenue for most levies does not rise or fall based on fluctuations in total valuations — it by law stays constant year after year.
    • On the other hand, that very small part of your tax bill that is inside millage does rise proportionately with your valuation.
  • That annual fixed revenue amount from most levies is generated from the total of the valuations in that taxing jurisdiction, i.e., the sum of valuation of all properties (let’s call this the tax base) in the political and taxing jurisdiction in question (say, a school district).
  • Thus, the rate for each individual levy is — in a simplified sense — the fixed annual sum generated from the tax divided by the tax base that changes from year to year, usually upward, but occasionally downward.
  • What this means is that as the value of all properties in a taxing jurisdiction rise, the rate drops by the same ratio (except the inside millage and a few other exceptions).
  • Therefore, if the average valuation increase in Hamilton County is 15%, then the tax rate on average should be dropping about 10-12%. Thus, the real increase in your actual taxes paid should only be around 3-5%.
  • Now, two more cautions:
    • If your tax valuation went up more than the average for the political and taxing jurisdiction in question, your tax hike will be more than that 3-5%. So, if you were unfortunate enough to get one of those 25% hikes, your taxes will indeed go up another 10% or more.
    • The other factor that impacts the taxes that you pay is the tax rate, so if your school district or City had a property tax hike (because of COVID, there were a remarkably low number of levies on the ballot this fall), your taxes may rise as a result of the as well.
  • As you can see from this blog entry, the calculation of your tax bill involves dozens if not hundreds of individual calculations. The bills are tremendously complicated. But these overarching principles do apply, and therefore most taxpayers will not see tax increases anywhere near the whopping valuation hikes they are seeing on these recent Auditor notices.

We hope that gives property owners some comfort that these preliminary notices do not reflect the actual hike in your taxes coming in January.

We have been looking for details of the calculations of and eligibility for the second round of PPP in the most recent COVID stimulus bill. We found this excellent in article in Entrepreneur.Com here.

Some details from the article follow (note, since the PPP “loans” are forgivable, the word “loan” essentially means “grant” for most eligible businesses):

Qualifications:

  • A loss of revenue of 25% or greater, for any one quarter — comparing 2019 to 2020. If your firm had swings in revenue or had a pronounced one-quarter loss due to COVID or other causes, you may be eligible even if your annual revenue did not dip by 25%.
  • 300 employees or fewer.
  • Must have already used or plan to use their original PPP funding.

Loan terms:

  • Maximum loan limit of $2 million.
  • Loans of 2.5 months of payroll, which is the same as the original PPP. We are checking the legislation to see if the loan amount will change based upon increased payrolls from the original calculation (for example, if additional employees were added).
  • Restaurants food businesses (we are checking on the meaning of that term) qualify for 3.5 months of payroll as their loan amount.
  • Qualifying expenses are expanded from payroll and rent or mortgage payments in the original PPP to now include operating expenses, workplace protection costs to protect employees from COVID-19 and covered property damage.
  • Loan proceeds are not taxable and loan expenses are deductible (this is true for the new program and the original PPP payments).
  • Loans less than $150,000 have significantly simplified loan forgiveness (a one-page form).

For additional details on second round PPP loans, contact attorney Rebecca Heimlich (513.797.2856) of Finney Law Firm.

County Auditors in Ohio are required by law to re-value every parcel of real estate in their County every three years. The cycles differ by county, but for Hamilton, Butler, Montgomery and Clermont Counties, the next revaluation comes out on the January 2021 tax bills.  This means that for those  counties (and certain others in Ohio), the value stated on every tax bill in the January 2021 tax bills should be new for almost every property owner. Dusty Rhodes, the Hamilton County Auditor has sent new valuation notices to each property owner, and those have been arriving this week. As a result, our phones are really starting to ring.

The Enquirer today reports that Hamilton County property values have spiked 15% from the 2018 values here.

Yesterday, we wrote this blog entry: All the info you need to know on property tax valuation issues in Ohio. Click for more information.

Finally, the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors is hosting a free seminar featuring Christopher Finney and Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes on the property tax valuation reduction process. The public is invited to attend.  Click here to register to get a link for that seminar.

Contact Chris Finney (513.943.6655) or Casey Jones (513.943-5673) for more information on reducing your property taxes.

Tax bills in Hamilton County will be mailed on January 7 and are due February 1. Nonetheless, the County Auditor has sent out notices to homeowners in December as to the new valuation of properties that will appear on the January tax bills. Since the January 2021 tax bills represent the start of a new tax triennial, every property owner in Hamilton, Butler and Clermont Counties will get new valuations in those upcoming tax bills. As a result, our phones are starting to ring about help with property tax valuation reductions.

If you are thinking about challenging your property’s tax valuation, below are linked two blog entries with lots of information on the wisdom of taking such a path, and the detailed procedures for doing so. One of them has an instructional video on tax valuation reduction in Ohio.

Ohio and Kentucky property tax valuation challenges vexing in 2021

’tis the season for property tax valuation reduction (with How To video)

Contact Chris Finney (513-.943.6655) or Casey Taylor (513.943.5673) for information on how we can help get your property taxes reduced.

 

 

 

Tonight, a second historic COVID relief bill passed both Houses of Congress and awaits signature by President Trump.

The bill provides significant supplemental relief for small business in addition to direct payments to individuals. Here are some highlights of the bill’s business provisions:

  1. Paycheck Protection Program funds distributed under the first relief bill this spring and summer already by law were not to be counted as income, but the IRS had ruled that businesses could not count their expenditure as deductions, which essentially reversed the “tax free” nature of the forgivable loans. Under this bill, for all businesses who received the PPP this spring or summer, Congress has clarified that the expenses are deductible, which results in a benefit of another 30% or more from the previously-granted funds for businesses that are profitable.
  2. A second round of PPP funding will be handed out, but this time it is limited to businesses with documentable and demonstrable downturn of 30% or more as a result of the COVID pandemic. Other tight conditions will apply. Thus, the pool of eligible borrowers (grantees) is far more limited than under the first PPP program. Amounts of the loans (grants) are not yet available.
  3. In a significant give and take for landlords, Congress extended the eviction moratorium until the end of January, but they added $25 billion in assistance to tenants in arrears on their rent, allowing landlords to make application for the funds. It is expected that the Biden administration will extend the moratorium further after he takes office January 20 of next year. The applications are allowed for tenants who meet eligibility requirements, including (i) earning less than 80% of median income, (ii) at least one person in their households has lost a job and (iii) are at risk of losing housing.
  4. Making meals and drinks for business entertainment of clients and customers 100% deductible.

The bill is 5,593 pages in length, meaning there remains a lot of dissection of its intricacies. Attorney Rebecca Heimlich of the Finney Law Firm will be leading another EmpowerU webinar in early January covering how businesses and individuals can fully take advantage of the deductions and subsidies the bill provides. We will announce that webinar shortly.

More on the bill is detailed here in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Advancing our objective of “Making a Difference” for our clients, Finney Law Firm has made a point of briefing the various COVID relief and legal developments for our clients throughout 2020, and that will continue on this blog into 2021. Stay tuned for updates.