Additional Services - Frequently Asked Questions


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.


Administration

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. klritchi@franklincountyohio.gov.

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.


Board of Revision

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 March 31. Complaints must be received by our office on or before March 31. If a complaint is filed by mail or certified mail, and has a United States postmark (on the envelope or sender's receipt) of March 31, it will be considered filed on March 31. 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: bor@franklincountyohio.gov; or fax it to: 614-525-6252.

You can obtain blank complaint forms (form DTE 1) through our Form Center

Q. What tax year can I file for?

Taxes are currently being collected for 2016. You can file a Board of Revision complaint for Tax Year 2016 from now through Friday, March 31, 2017.

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. After searching for your property, click "BOR Status" in the gray box on the left side of the page. 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.


Consumer Services

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. For more information on dog licensing FAQs, please click here.

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 is the income qualification to receive the homestead exemption?

To qualify, a homeowner must have a total income (for both the applicant and the applicant's spouse) that does not exceed the amount set by the law, which is adjusted annually for inflation. "Total income" is defined as the adjusted gross income for Ohio income tax purposes. The current maximum allowed is $31,800 for the 2017 application period.

Q. Who is grandfathered in the homestead program?

Homeowners who received a homestead exemption credit for tax year 2013 will not be subject to the income requirement, even if they move to another Ohio residence.

Q. What are the duties of the Weights and Measures inspectors?

Weights and 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 online vendor's license application.

Q. What is a weighing and measuring device?

This is a term that we use to describe equipment or devices such as scales, gas pumps, meters, and timers that weigh or measure commodities, or time, in the course of trade or business.

Q. Who checks the weights used by inspectors?

All weights and measures equipment are certified by the state metrology laboratory. This lab is charged as the official keeper of the state standards. Periodically the state standards are sent to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to be evaluated. Additionally, NIST sends standards to all the labs in the country for comparison tests.

Q. I want to make a complaint, but I don't want the business to know that I was the one who made it. What do I do?

You can call the Franklin County Weights and Measures at 614-525-7380 or use our complaint form. Complete the form with as much information as possible; this helps inspectors make a more thorough investigation. The complainant's personal information is not revealed to the business, but is used by inspectors to contact you with results of the investigation.

Q. My vehicle owner's manual says the tank in my car only holds 14 gallons but I was able to put 15 1/2 gallons in it. What is wrong?

There may or may not be anything wrong; sometimes manufacturers change the size of the tank in a particular car and the owner's manual is not updated. Check with the dealer. The gas tank rating listed in your owner's manual lists a capacity that is the usable space of the tank. The usable space does not include the space within the filler pipe or the vapor head space in the tank that allows for expansion of the product. When you combine the usable space and the additional space, the amount of product that can be put in the tank is greater than the tanks' stated volume in the owner's manual.

Q. When I buy a package of meat in a supermarket, do I pay for the plastic tray and the wrappings?

No. You should only be charged for the product you are purchasing. This is called "net weight". Anything in a package other than the actual product is called "tare," and its weight must be deducted from the total weight of the package.

Q. I think some of the commodities I buy don't weigh as the label reads. Where do I complain?

Immediately contact our Weights and Measures department and explain the problems you are having. Provide the name of the business, and the products you suspect are short weight. An inspector will conduct an inspection at the location and take action to correct any discrepancies that are found.

Q. I discovered when I got home that I had been overcharged for several items at a local store. The store advertised prices that were lower than what the scanner charged me. What can I do?

Always contact the manager of the store first with you concerns and give him/her a chance to correct the problem. If you feel they did not satisfy your concerns, then contact the Weights and Measures department, who will conduct a price verification inspection at the store to determine the extent of the problem and take any necessary action to ensure accurate pricing.

Q. There is a store down the road that is using a scale without a county approval seal on it. How do I know it's right?

While the Weights and Measures department attempts to test and certify all devices on an annual basis, some devices are occasionally overlooked, or the store may have installed a new scale without contacting our office. Your call may alert us to the problem which will result in the device being tested, certified and sealed by a county inspector. The Weights and Measures approval seal is your assurance that the device is accurate and correct. If you have further questions, please contact us at 614-525-7380.

Q. I am opening a business and need to know what, if any, weights and measures regulations will affect me?

Most businesses are to some degree affected by weights and measures laws. This will vary on the type of business. In general if you will be using any type of weighing and measuring device (e.g. scale, gas pump, meter, UPC scanner system, timing device) you will be directly affected. If you will be packaging commodities, you will need to know packaging and labeling, and net quantity requirements.

Q. I'm going to buy a scale for my business. Where do I start?

Determine the method of sale for your product - will you be prepackaging commodities or selling directly to the customer over the scale? Then contact the Weights and Measures department for help to guide you through the steps to select a suitable scale that meets all applicable laws.

Q. Can I use my scale or gas pump immediately after the service company installs it?

The device may be used commercially if it is installed by a registered service person and our office is notified of the installation. You will not be given permission to place the device into commercial service until a weights and measures official inspects the device.

Q. I want to make and sell homemade fudge at flea and farmers markets, do I have to put a label with the weight on it?

Yes, if it is pre-packaged prior to sale, candy of this type must be sold by net weight, not by the "piece." The Weights and Measures program will be able to furnish you with detailed information on the labeling requirements for specific packaged commodities.

Q. How do I find someone to repair my weighing or measuring equipment (scale, gas pump, etc.)?

You can contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture Department of Weights and Measures. They register service agencies involved in the installation, service, repair or reconditioning of commercial weighing and measuring devices in Ohio.


Estate Tax

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.


Fiscal Services

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
MR/DD: 614-475-6440
Office on Aging: 614-525-4526
Public Facilities Management: 614-525-3800
Sheriff: 614-525-3543

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


Mediation

Q. Why is there mediation?

In a strong effort to serve owners of property in Franklin County mediation has been started. As you may know, thousands of applications/complaints have been filed by property owners which remain pending before the Board of Revision. The Franklin County Auditor, Treasurer, and Commissioners recognize the issues with pending cases.

To assist owners of property in Franklin County who have a Board of Revision case pending, a Mediation Program has been started to resolve as many cases as expeditiously as possible. By utilizing this opportunity, your case will likely be resolved earlier than through the typical Board of Revision hearing.

Q. What is mediation?

Mediation is a process in which an individual (mediator) facilitates communication and negotiation between individuals to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute. The Board of Revision must approve any stipulation which is reached in mediation.

Q. What is a stipulation?

A stipulation is an agreement to the facts and terms which a complainant requests for the Board of Revision to adopt in its decision.

Q. What is a waiver?

A waiver is the complainant's relinquishment of rights to such things as an appeal or to an attorney for example. The complainant does not wish to utilize these types of rights because an acceptable arrangement has been reached and the Board of Revision approves by way of its decision.

Q. What is a pre-mediation phone call?

A pre-mediation phone call is a communication to the complainant from mediation support personnel. The pre-mediation call is not the actual mediation call which will follow later. The pre-mediation phone call occurs approximately two weeks before the actual mediation and usually lasts around 5 to 10 minutes. The purpose of the pre-mediation call is to answer questions and confirm the complainant's contact information and the date and time for the mediation. The call assists with explaining the mediation process and circulating documents prior to the mediation.

The pre-mediation call is scheduled for morning or afternoon and is listed in the mediation notice letter. It does not have a specific time associated with it beyond morning or afternoon on a specific day. If by chance, you are not available during the morning or afternoon timeframe, you can simply call or email mediation support at the phone number and email address listed in your mediation notice letter to conduct the pre-mediation call well in advance of the specific mediation date and time.

Q. Do I need to pick between mediation and the regular BOR process when I file my complaint?

You do not need to choose between mediation and the regular Board of Revision process when you file your complaint. Simply because your case is to be mediated does not mean you are excluded from the Board of Revision process. The Board of Revision reviews the stipulation reached in mediation.

Q. Is mediation part of the BOR process or a separate means to resolve my valuation issues?

Although mediation is separate from the Board of Revision process, stipulations reached in mediation are sent to the Board of Revision for approval or denial. Approved stipulations will have a decision letter issued by the Board of Revision. Those stipulations which are denied will be eventually set for another hearing before the Board of Revision.

Q. If the applicant/complainant reaches an agreement in mediation, does she/he have to come to the Board of Revision hearing?

Typically if a stipulation is reached and returned timely with the applicant/complainant's signature, then the applicant/complainant would not need to come to the hearing. However, if a stipulation is not reached or not returned timely with the applicant/complainant's signature, then the applicant/complainant would have to come to his/her hearing when it is eventually scheduled.

Q. Do I need to pay a fee to mediate my case?

You do not need to pay a fee to mediate your case. The Franklin County Auditor's Office has contracted mediators to facilitate the mediation process.

Q. How do I get my case into mediation?

The mediation program sends out written notices for the cases to be mediated. Staff is currently reviewing cases to send notices. We cannot send all of the notices at one time or take multiple requests for mediation. After some cases have progressed through mediation, we will send more notices to mediate. You may not simply make a request for mediation and be guaranteed that your case will be mediated. Accommodations may be made in certain instances on a case-by-case basis.

Q. What does the applicant/complainant do in the mediation?

The applicant/complainant needs to be organized and brief in his/her discussion points. Most mediation sessions will revolve around the central issue of valuation for a parcel(s) of real estate. You must be prepared to explain the circumstances surrounding the issues to be mediated in an organized and brief manner.

Q. What kind of documentation do I need to submit if my case is selected for mediation?

If you have documentation substantiating the value you have requested in your Board of Revision complaint, then the documentation should be submitted well in advance of the mediation session. Sometimes applicants/complainants will have no documentation. Sometimes applicants/complainants will have appraisals of the parcels in question, comparable sales for the area, or sales documentation for the property in question. You are welcome to circulate the documentation you believe will best serve your case but in the interest of time, please be sure the documentation is helpful to your case and on point.

Q. Should I bring my ideas for resolution to the mediation?

It is very important for the applicant/complainant to be prepared for mediation. Know the reasons why you think your property value should be raised or lowered and be able to state those reasons briefly and quickly. Most mediation sessions will revolve around the central issue of valuation for a parcel(s) of real estate. You must be prepared to explain the circumstances surrounding the issues to be mediated in an organized and brief manner.

Q. Will my concerns be heard in mediation?

Concerns related to the case will be discussed but all parties must work together to stay on point. The amount of time in the mediation session is limited as other cases are awaiting mediation. You must be able to state your concerns in a precise manner. The mediator will assist in facilitating communication on relevant concerns which can have a positive outcome from mediation.

Q. Is it possible to mediate my case by phone?

In most circumstances, it is possible to mediate your case by phone. The Mediation Division will attempt to mediate the case by phone when possible. Your cooperation in the phone mediation process is required. You will need to circulate your documentation relevant to the mediation by email or regular mail well in advance of the mediation. You will need to provide the Mediation Division with a good, reliable email address (where possible) and a phone number where you can be reached during business hours. A mailing address, if different than the complaint information, will also need to be provided.

Q. What does the mediator do?

The mediator facilitates the communication and negotiation between the parties. The mediator is not your attorney and does not take sides. The mediator helps the parties work through case issues and reach an agreement. The mediator is not a judge. The mediator will not make a determination as to right or wrong or decide the case.

Q. Who will be in the mediation?

A basic mediation will normally consist of the applicant/complainant, an Franklin County Auditor's Office representative, and a mediator. If the Board of Education has counter-filed on a case, then it may be involved in the mediation.

Q. How long will the mediation session last?

The mediation will last about 20 minutes. The issues are typically not that complicated and oftentimes revolve around agreement on a valuation amount for a parcel of real estate.

Q. Are mediation communications privileged?

Privileged information is information that cannot be said or brought into a formal proceeding. Mediation communications are privileged and are not to be used in formal proceedings unless an exception applies. See the Revised Code for exceptions. Some examples of exceptions may include things like a signed agreement by the parties, communication of a violent threat; communication intentionally used to conceal, commit, attempt to commit, or plan a crime; communication needed for the mediator to defend herself from claims; communication is open to the public or part of a public record; and child/adult abuse. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list and is only provided to give you some examples of what may not be privileged.

Q. Are mediation communications confidential?

Party and non-party participation in this mediation program indicates their acceptance to keep mediation communications confidential and not disclose the information to anyone outside of a formal proceeding unless, for example, for reason of imminent harm, to consult an attorney and other reasons which may apply. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list and is only provided to give you some examples of what may not be confidential. However, the communications are still privileged as to use in a formal proceeding unless allowed by an exception.

Q. May I bring someone with me to the mediation?

Most mediation sessions will be conducted with the applicant/complainant on the telephone. However, if the applicant/complainant wants to mediate in person, then he/she may opt for in person mediation. Other individuals the parties designate are allowed to accompany them and participate in the mediation. However, this practice may impede progress in the mediation and slow down the process. Please contact the Mediation Division in advance if you want to bring someone with you or have someone on the phone with you. Your participation and non-party participation is your consent to keep mediation communications confidential.

Q. Is childcare provided at the mediation?

If you want an in person mediation session, please make childcare arrangements in advance. If the mediation session is in person, no childcare will be provided. Most mediation sessions are to be conducted by phone with the applicant/complainant.

Q. Will our agreement be put in writing?

Yes, the agreement will be put in a written stipulation and signed by the applicant/complainant. If the mediation is conducted by phone, then the stipulation will be emailed or mailed by regular mail to the applicant/complainant for signature. The applicant/complainant will then have a deadline to return the original, signed stipulation by regular mail to the Mediation Division, 373 S. High St., 20th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

Q. Once the stipulation is signed, is it final?

Once the stipulation is signed by the applicant/complainant, it must be submitted to the Board of Revision for approval. If the stipulation is approved by the Board of Revision, a decision letter will issue to the applicant/complainant indicating the Board of Revision's decision. Oftentimes the stipulation will be approved with little or no modification but the Board of Revision does not have to approve the stipulation. Once the decision is entered by the Board of Revision from a typical stipulation and waiver of appeal, the matter is final.

Q. Will the mediator provide me legal advice?

The mediator will not provide legal advice and is not an attorney representing a party.

Q. Do I need an attorney to mediate?

You do not need an attorney to mediate. You may have an attorney in the mediation but it is not required. Many mediation sessions are held without an attorney.

Q. As an applicant/complainant, may I have a non-attorney (agent, POA, representative) mediate the case on my behalf?

These matters are much simpler when the complainant handles his/her own case. This matter will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Typically, a power of attorney is acceptable to handle the matter on behalf of the individual (complainant) authorizing the power of attorney.

For corporations, trusts, limited liability companies, and so forth, typically an attorney, the trustee, or the president of the corporation would need to sign the stipulation.

Q. How long does it take to have a decision from the Board of Revision?

The Board of Revision is very busy due to the high volume of application/complaint filings. The Board of Revision will decide the matter as quickly as possible. The time for a decision is normally a few weeks after the stipulation is returned timely with the applicant/complainant's signature affixed thereon.

Q. What if I am not happy with the settlement agreement?

Decisions have to be made every day by individuals on all types of issues such as property value, economic issues, the price of items to buy or sell, and so forth. The complainant has to make up her/his mind whether or not it is better to know, with a high degree of certainty, the value you will likely receive through a mediated agreement or to await the unknown value to be determined after a full hearing. Once the decision is made by the Board of Revision from a properly signed stipulation, the decision is final. Applicants/complainants who are not happy with the terms should not enter a stipulation. If no stipulation is entered, then the case will be set for full hearing in the regular course of business before the Board of Revision at some later date.

Q. May I appeal the agreement to the BTA or the Court of Common Pleas?

As part of the stipulation in mediation, appeal rights are waived. So the right of appeal goes away because an acceptable stipulation has been entered.

Q. Is my stipulation a matter of public record?

Typically the stipulation is a matter of public record as it is part of the decision reached by the Board of Revision. The stipulation has to be sent to the Board of Revision for review and approval/denial before a decision on the approval can be entered. If the stipulation is not approved, then the case will be eventually set for a hearing.

Q. Will I have to go to the BOR hearing if I reach an agreement in mediation?

Your appearance will likely be waived (not required) for the BOR hearing and the stipulation will probably be approved by the BOR. However, sometimes the stipulation will not be approved and/or your appearance will be required for another reason. Normally the stipulation will go through the BOR and your appearance can be waived if you have signed the stipulation and returned it timely.

The mediation FAQ's are provided in an effort to offer suggestions to applicants/complainants to gain a better understanding of the mediation process. The questions are those typically asked by others to understand the mediation process. The proposed suggestions are not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you may consult an attorney.


Real Estate

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 2017 Reappraisal. 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 owner occupied tax reduction?

The owner occupied tax reduction 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.

Q. I filed an application for the owner occupied tax reduction but the website 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 office'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 2016 are for Tax Year 2015 and were calculated based on the property's value as of Jan. 1, 2015.

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's Office 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.

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