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Property Tax Seasons Commences

It's July, the sun is shining, and it's time to think about your real property taxes. County Auditors (or Fiscal Officers, if in Cuyahoga or Summit County) are in the process of preparing their valuations of all property in their respective counties, which in turn will determine the amount of your tax bills for the 2020 tax year, payable in 2021. For the lucky few, 2020 is either an update year or a full re-appraisal year, in which case the new value will last for at least three years, possibly six (subject, as always, to exceptions).
 
Now is the time to at least check public records to see what county officials show – improvements and land size at a minimum. If either is wrong, and presuming the public records show either more improvements or more land than is actually the fact, the county appraisal department can be contacted and advised of the discrepancy, which should hopefully result in a reduced value without having to do anything else, such as file a complaint with the board of revision, have the local board of education get involved, and incur the associated costs.
 
The certified property values for the 2020 tax year will not be published until later in the year.  Once the values are available, these should be reviewed to at least determine if the county's value makes sense or has no relationship to realty. If not, a complaint can then be filed with the county board of revision and the review process will begin.  
 
Under some circumstances, the county auditor will send the property owner notice of his or her proposed value prior to certification and provide an opportunity to informally contest. If so, don't ignore this letter, as it provides a relatively cheap and quick method of adjusting value without the formal board of revision review.
 
Public information about your property can usually be found on-line from the county auditor's or fiscal officer's web page.  For example, see here for Cuyahoga County, or here for Lake County.  

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