Following is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the duties and responsibilities of the Franklin County Auditor's Office. Please email us at ClarenceMingo@FranklinCountyOhio.gov if your question isn't answered here or if you need additional information.
Q. Who are the members of the Franklin County Budget Commission?
The Franklin County Auditor, Treasurer and Prosecutor comprise the Franklin County Budget Commission.
Q. What are the duties of the Franklin County Budget Commission?
The Budget Commission approves tax budgets for the various political subdivisions within Franklin County, attends statutory meetings and approves certificates of estimated resources for schools, municipalities, townships and other agencies that are funded by tax dollars.
Q. What entities receive my tax dollars?
Your public school district, vocational school district (if applicable), city/village/township, library and county all receive a portion of the tax dollars distributed by the Auditor's Office.
Q. How do I obtain a copy of the tax budget for a particular municipality, township or school district in Franklin County?
You may call or submit a written request to the Budget Commission Clerk. Please specify which agency and tax year you are requesting. The telephone number is 525-3743; written requests may be mailed to: Franklin County Auditor, Budget Commission Clerk, 21st Floor, 373 S. High St., Columbus, Ohio 43215. email@example.com.
Q. What types of taxes are distributed by the Settlement Division?
Real Estate, Personal Property and Estate taxes are distributed by the Settlement Division, along with other taxes, including Motor Vehicle License, Gasoline, Cigarette and Trailer taxes.
Q. How can I arrange for a speaker to discuss the functions of the Franklin County Auditor's Office with my group or organization?
The Franklin County Auditor's Office is pleased to provide speakers and presentations on a variety of topics, including the Homestead Exemption program, Geographic Information System, real estate taxation process or any other aspect of the Auditor's Office. Call 525-6256 for information about scheduling a presentation or contact us electronically.
The responses to these Frequently Asked Questions are not intended to be legal advice. Legal advice from a State licensed attorney is always encouraged.
Q. When can I file a BOR complaint?
Complaints can be filed through April 1, 2013. Complaints must be received by our office on or before April 1, 2013. If a complaint is filed by mail or certified mail, and has a United States postmark (on the envelope or sender's receipt) of April 1, 2013, it will be considered filed on April 1, 2013. A private meter postmark on an envelope is not a valid postmark for purposes of establishing the filing date..
Any complaint that is not properly completed may be subject to dismissal by the Board.
Q. How can I file a BOR complaint form?
You can file your complaint by U.S. Mail or in person at: 373 S. High St., 20th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215; you can scan your signed and notarized complaint and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org; or fax it to: 614-525-6252.
Q. What tax year can I file for?
Taxes are currently being collected for 2012. If you wanted to file a complaint for 2012, you would file your complaint form by April 1, 2013.
Q. Do I need an attorney to file a BOR complaint?
For property deeded to an individual, an attorney is not required. For property deeded to a business entity or a trust, an attorney is strongly recommended. Representation by an attorney is always encouraged.
Q. How do I complete Line 8 on the form?
Our office cannot provide legal advice of how to complete the form. Please see below for an example of a previously completed line 8.
Q. If I am filing on a recent purchase or sale of a property, what documents should I submit with my complaint?
A copy of the closing statement, the purchase contract, escrow statement, the deed, and any possible addendums or documents that would support your sale price.
Q. How do I know if the BOR received my complaint?
You may check the status of your complaint on our website at: www.franklincountyauditor.com. Please be advised there is a heavy filing volume in late March; therefore, updates to the webpage may take additional time.
Q. How long will it take to get a hearing date?
Due to the fact that we receive thousands of complaints each year, we make every attempt to handle them in the order in which they are received. Each complaint is worked based on its own merits and the process can be lengthy.
Q. Why do some cases involve the district's Board of Education?
If the change in market value sought on your complaint(s) exceeds $50,000 market value (or $17,500 assessed), by law the BOR must notify the Board of Education for that taxing district.
Q. How far back in time can a BOR decision go?
January 1 of the tax year for which you filed.
Q. If I get a reduction in value, how do I get a refund or credit?
All decisions are held for 35 days pending an appeal. Once that time has expired, the BOR will notify the Auditor of the change. After approximately sixty days, an adjustment to the records is made and a refund or credit will be issued.
Q. Does a BOR value decision carry forward?
In many cases, the decision will carry forward until the next triennial. However, that decision is within the discretion of the BOR.
Q. What if I don't agree with the decision of the BOR?
You may appeal any decision by filing the proper notice of appeal with either the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals or with the Court of Common Pleas. These appeals must be filed within 30 days of the date of your decision letter.
Q. How do I get a dog license?
Call the Franklin County Auditor's Consumer Services Division at 614-525-3260 and an application will be mailed to you. This will help eliminate confusion about different fee structures in place for animals that have been spayed or neutered and those that have not. Licensing fees are prorated if they are issued after July 1. Dog licenses can also be obtained at Franklin County Animal Control, the Capital Area Humane Society and other satellite locations throughout the county. Beginning in April 2001, the Franklin County Auditor's Office became the first in Ohio to offer online dog registration.
Q. May I apply for the Homestead Exemption if my children's names appear on the deed, too?
Yes, as long as the applicant's name appears on the deed. Life Estates and Inter Vivos Trusts are also acceptable.
Q. What about a surviving spouse?
A surviving spouse between the ages 59 and 64 of a person who was receiving the homestead exemption by reason of age or disability in the year of death may continue to receive the reduction as long as they continue to meet the residency guidelines.
Q. How do you define permanently and totally disabled?
According to Section 323.151 (E) of the Ohio Revised Code states that "'permanently and totally disabled' means a person who has. some impairment in body or mind that makes him unfit to work at any substantially remunerative employment which he is reasonably able to perform and which will, with reasonable probability, continue for an indefinite period of at least twelve months without any present indication of recovery therefrom or has been certified as permanently and totally disabled by a state or federal agency having the function of so classifying persons."
Q. When will the reduction affect my property taxes?
The reduction will be reflected on the tax bill that is due the year following the year you originally apply.
Q. Do I still have to pay taxes if I qualify for the reduction?
The Homestead Exemption offers a reduction in taxes - it does not necessarily eliminate your total tax liability. You are also responsible for paying any special assessments (from your city / township or the county) that is reflected on your tax bill.
Q. Once I qualify and receive the reduction, do I have to apply every year?
No. However, if your circumstances change and you no longer qualify for the Homestead Exemption, you must notify the county auditor by the first Monday in June. In January the county auditor will mail you a copy of the continuing application form (DTE 105B, Continuing Homestead Exemption Application Form for Senior Citizens, Disabled Persons, and Surviving Spouses) . Please return this form to the auditor only if you no longer own the home, no longer occupy it as your primary place of residence, or if your disability status has changed.
Q. What are the duties of the Weights & Measures inspectors?
Weights & Measures inspectors inspect any weighing or measuring device that is used in commercial transactions. Each device is inspected at least once a year. Inspectors also follow up on consumer complaints concerning measuring and weighing devices. Weights & Measures inspectors work to protect consumers and merchants by ensuring that the weighing and measuring devices are correct.
Q. What should I do if I suspect a gasoline pump, price scanner or retail scale is incorrect?
If you suspect a problem with a measuring or weighing device, contact the Franklin County Auditor's Office at 614-525-3742. Please provide the following information: name and location of the establishment; nature of the complaint; date the suspected error was discovered; your name and telephone number. Any receipts you have from the transaction would also be helpful.
Q. Why do some gas pumps have city certification stickers and others have county certification stickers?
There are two groups of Weights & Measures inspectors in Franklin County. City of Columbus employees inspect all commercial weighing and measuring devices that are within Columbus city limits, while Franklin County inspectors are responsible for inspecting all other devices.
Q. When is a vendor's license required and how do I get one?
A vendor's license is required by state law whenever a business makes retail sales. Having a vendor's license enables the business owner to collect sales tax for the State of Ohio. The initial license is issued by the county auditor's office in the county in which the business is located. Because there are a number of different vendor's licenses, it is best to contact the Franklin County Auditor's Office Consumer Services Division at 614-525-3260 to determine which type of license you will need. You may also visit the State of Ohio Department of Taxation web site, http://www.tax.ohio.gov/online_services/business_taxes_sales_filing.aspx, for an on-line vendor's license application.
Q. When is a tax release required?
A tax release will be required for assets equal to $25,000 or more per account. This applies to decedent name only, joint and payable on death accounts. Also, tax releases are not required to be filed for assets passing to a surviving spouse alone, regardless of the dollar amount.
Q. When should E.T. Form 13 be used?
E.T Form 13 is needed for releases such as annuities, non-bank Keogh plans, non-bank IRAs, 401-K, endowments, bonuses, profit-sharing plans or other pensions, death benefits, qualified retirement plans or contracts issued by an insurance company or employer.
Q. Who must file the Ohio estate tax return?
The Attorney, Executor, Administrator or an Estate Representative is responsible for filing the return.
Q. Where is the Ohio estate tax return filed?
The return is filed in duplicate with the Probate Court in the county where decedent was a resident at the time of death, and payment of any taxes due is made at the County Auditor's office.
Q. How can I get an extension for additional time to file the Ohio estate tax return?
If additional time is needed, the estate representative may apply for an extension of time to file by submitting E.T. Form 24, directly to the Estate Tax Division before the 15 month due date of the return. An extension, if granted, is for a maximum of six months per request. If the estate becomes taxable, an estimated payment must be made in a timely manner (within 9 months from the date of death) with the County Auditor's Office by filing an E.T. Form 17 in duplicate.
Q. Is an inventory of safe deposit boxes still required?
No. Effective January 1, 2001, regardless of the date of death of the decedent, the tax commissioner will no longer require the inventory of a safe deposit box upon the death of the owner, co-owner or any other person having access to the box. This includes self-storage boxes currently in use by several financial institutions or any other receptacle that may be deemed a "safe deposit box." This policy change applies to both resident and non-resident decedents of the State of Ohio. In addition, financial institutions may permit access to all boxes without requiring a tax release or other form from the tax commissioner consenting to the access. However the County Auditor's Office is still required to inventory guardian safe deposit boxes.
Q. If the estate is taxable, to whom should the check be made payable?
Checks should be written to the Franklin County Treasurer.
Q. My company submitted an invoice to Franklin County. Has it been paid?
You should call the department or agency that placed the original order. Following are telephone numbers for some of the larger Franklin County agencies' fiscal offices:
ADAMH Board: 614-224-1057
Children Services: 614-275-2617
Human Services: 614-525-4101
Office on Aging: 614-525-4526
Public Facilities Management: 614-525-3800
Q. The County warrant states that it must be presented within 60 days to receive payment. What if the warrant is more than 60 days old?
If you try to deposit or cash a warrant that is older than 60 days, it may not be honored when presented for redemption. Stale-dated warrants are paid periodically into unclaimed funds. To find out if a specific warrant can be presented for payment or if it has become stale-dated, call 614-525-3357.
Q. I am planning to relocate to Franklin County. What is the County's employment tax rate?
Franklin County does not impose an income tax on wage earners. Various municipalities and school districts within the County have their own employment taxes. Call the specific political subdivision to learn the current tax rate. Telephone numbers for selected entities in Franklin County are:
City of Columbus: 614-645-7370
City of Dublin: 614-761-6560
City of Gahanna: 614-471-4101
City of Westerville: 614-890-8500
Ohio School District Income Tax Office: 614-728-1070
Q. How can I determine how much a proposed property tax levy will cost me?
Use the property search feature to access your property information. Select "levy info" from the menu. Current levy information affecting your property is provided, including a cost estimate.
Q. Someone knocked on my door and said they were an appraiser representing the Franklin County Auditor's Office. Why did they visit my property?
Appraisers visit each real estate parcel in Franklin County as part of the state-mandated revaluation every three years. This process will next happen prior to the 2014 Appraisal. Appraisers will verify your property's characteristics, including number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Your assistance in the revaluation process results in an accurate appraisal and ensures that property owners pay no more than their fair share of the cost of providing local services. For your safety and protection, every county-authorized appraiser carries a picture identification badge. If you have concerns or questions concerning an appraiser at your property, call the Franklin County Auditor's Office at 614-525-4663.
Q. How do I qualify for the 2.5 percent property tax rollback?
The 2.5 percent supplemental rollback is a tax reduction for owner-occupied residential property. Homeowners may receive the supplemental rollback on only one property in Ohio; rental properties are not eligible for the reduction. Most homeowners currently receive the supplemental rollback, as indicated on their tax bills. The State of Ohio reimburses schools and other agencies for the supplemental rollback. Call 614-525-4663 or e-mail ClarenceMingo@franklincountyohio.gov for additional information. You may also fill out an application for the supplemental rollback online.
Q. I filed an application for the 2.5 percent property tax rollback but the web site still says NO under that column?
The "NO" will change to a "Yes" in December when the next tax bills are calculated. If you have applied for the current year, you may check the status of the reduction in December.
Q. I think the Auditor's appraised value is too high for my property. What are my options?
The appraised value set by the Auditor's Office is an important part of the property tax calculation. If you feel the appraised value is too high, you may file a complaint with the Franklin County Board of Revision. Filing a BOR complaint entitles you to a hearing before the three-member Board of Revision. At the hearing, you may present information such as recent appraisals or current sales data for similar properties in your neighborhood to support your complaint. BOR complaints must be filed between January 1 and March 31.
Q. What is the 'tax lien' date?
The tax lien date is used to reflect real estate market value each year. In Ohio, the annual tax lien date is January 1, and property taxes are always paid a year in arrears. For example, taxes paid in 2013 are for Tax Year 2012 and were calculated based on the property's value as of Jan. 1, 2012.
Q. I'm interested in getting a map of my property. Can the Auditor's Office help me?
Yes. The Franklin County Auditor's Office operates a map room and public information area on the 19th floor of the Franklin County Courthouse, 373 S. High St. Map room customers can print customized Geographic Information System (GIS) maps for any of the 438,000-plus real estate parcels in the county. Available data layers include lot dimensions, building footprints, drives and parking, aboveground utilities and land contours and elevations. A letter-size print costs $.10 and a 30-inch-by-36-inch map can be printed for $1.70. GIS map data is also available on the GIS (maps) page of our website. Call 614-525-4663 for additional information.
Q. What is a tax abatement?
A tax abatement is an exemption of new construction value, in whole or in part, incurred from a specific project. Initiated by the local municipality, these incentives may be available to homeowners, business owners and developers.
Q. What is the purpose of tax abatements?
The Ohio Revised Code allows for several types of Tax Abatement Programs, such as Enterprise Zones, TIF's and Community Reinvestment Areas to encourage new construction and job creation.
Q. What is the real estate tax burden for the owner of an abated property?
The property owner will always receive a tax bill. The abatement applies only to the new construction value. All land and any building and/or improvement value that existed prior to the project will remain taxable.
Q. Can the Franklin County Auditor approve an abatement or modify the existing terms of an incentive?
The Franklin County Auditor's Office is not involved in the approval of abatement programs, but does manage the parcels and maintains the abatement status. In cases of abated property, the Franklin County Auditor acts only in an administrative capacity.
Q. What is a TIF?
TIF is an acronym for Tax Increment Financing. A TIF incentive is a public financing method used by municipalities to subsidize redevelopment, infrastructure, and other improvement projects. Any increase in value after legislation is passed, will be assessed to the TIF portion of the parcel. The tax calculated on the TIF portion is collected into a specific project account by the municipality to repay bonds used to fund the improvements.
Q. Who files to have property value split for taxation under the TIF?
Once TIF legislation has been passed, the municipality or property owner may file to have the value of a parcel in that area split for taxation purposes. The application for this is known as the DTE 24. It is filed with our office and then submitted to the State of Ohio for approval. Generally this process can take anywhere from six to 18 months.
Q. What are infrastructure improvements?
Infrastructure improvements can be streets, street widening, road signs, sewer repair or replacement, lighting and much more. Each TIF district is project specific with detailed infrastructure descriptions included in the legislation that is passed by the municipality.
Q. Does this increase my tax liability?
Being within a TIF district does not increase your tax liability. The tax that would normally be collected is divided between the General Tax Fund and the TIF.
Q. Is it possible to get the homestead exemption on a parcel that has an incentive?
Yes, residential properties that qualify for homestead and/or 2.5 percent owner occupied reductions will still qualify.
Once a tax abatement is approved, it is the Franklin County Auditor's Office responsibility to appropriate value adjustments and follow the terms of the agreement. Contact our office at 614-525-3251 for additional information.