More on upcoming property tax valuation increases

For both commercial properties as well as single family homes, owners have flooded us with inquiries about their notices from County Auditors in Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Montgomery Counties as to new property valuations.  We can’t imagine the number of calls the County Auditors must be getting.

A few guideposts for you:

  • First, read this important blog entry that essentially tells you that the first 30% of the valuation increases in southwest Ohio will not result in an increase (or at least not a significant increase) in your actual tax bill.
  • Second, Auditor’s property valuation is not some magical number — for the January 2024 tax bill, it is to be the fair market value as of January 1, 2023.  Thus, if your property was worth more then than in the prior valuation period, you should expect a valuation increase — perhaps one even above average for all properties in the marketplace.  Some clients seem to think that since valuations were less than what they thought the property was actually worth in the past, the Auditor’s valuation process is supposed to yield a lower number.  Well, it’s not.
  • Third, if your property was purchased since the last triennial valuation date (January 1, 2020), the sale price likely will be reflected in the valuation.  As this blog entry addresses, a recent arm’s length sale essentially — and largely irrebuttably — IS the value by law.
  • Fourth, if your property falls in one of the gazelle categories of properties whose values have leaped ahead of the market — single family homes, warehouse and industrial properties, and apartment buildings — you should both celebrate your good fortune and expect a bigger tax bill as a result.
  • Fifth, on the flip side, if you are a victim of the weak office market or the mall or downtown retail market weaknesses, you should should see some tax relief in the January tax bills.
  • Sixth, gas prices are up, grocery prices are up, car prices are up.  You have not had a valuation increase in three years.  Wouldn’t you expect your tax bill would rise some, at least modestly?
  • Seventh, for both buyers and sellers in today’s market, the looming valuation increases create both a possible problem and an opportunity as to contractual tax prorations for sales between now and January when the new — very different — valuations come out.  Read here for more detail on this.
  • Eighth, remember, the Board of Revision process to challenge property valuations is a two-way street.  If your property truly is undervalued, you risk an increase.  Cautiously keep in mind the upward dynamics of the real estate market over the past three years.  You could wind up with an increased valuation as opposed to the sought reduction if you overplay your hand.
  • Finally, I had a client recently ask me “why would single family home valuations be increasing in Cincinnati?” and I swear he must live under a rock.  I responded, “haven’t you seen newspaper articles explaining that Cincinnati has had one of the hottest housing markets in the nation since the start of COVID?”  The response, “ummm, no.”  It is surprising since we deal with this every day, and to some extent it is just denial of the obvious fact that we are blessed in Cincinnati with a fantastic housing and commercial real estate market.  Enjoy it while it lasts!

If, after reading this and the prior blog entry on the new valuations coming out in January, you still have tax valuation questions, please contact me (513.943.6655) or another member of our tax team.  We are glad to help.

Attorney | ‭513-943-6655 | chris@finneylawfirm.com | + posts