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Was Your Business Harmed by COVID-19?

Jun 16, 2021


Was Your Business Harmed by COVID-19?
You Could Be Eligible for Property Tax Relief

By: Jeffrey A. Levine, Esq.

If your business was negatively impacted by COVID-19, you might be eligible for a property tax reduction. On April 27, 2021, Ohio enacted a special law that allows commercial property owners (and certain tenants) to apply for reductions of their 2020 property tax bill if their income-producing properties were affected by COVID-19. The law is intended to alleviate the financial impact of COVID-19 on Ohio businesses. The application process is intricate, and an experienced attorney can navigate it to optimize this valuable opportunity for a tax bill reduction.

On April 27, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed the unprecedented Ohio Senate Bill 57 into law. This new law allows an owner or tenant of an income-producing property impacted by COVID-19 (or by state orders associated with COVID-19) to file a “special” property tax valuation complaint. Property tax bills are generally calculated as of January 1 of each year. However, since COVID-19 did not impact Ohio businesses until around March 2020, a January 1 tax lien date does not take its challenging effects into account. The new law allows for the filing of a “special” complaint that determines the property’s tax liability as of October 1, 2020 – long after COVID shutdowns hit their peak.

Property owners and tenants can file a “special” complaint between July 26, 2021 and August 25, 2021. The application process includes a number of complexities. First, “special” complaints may only be filed for commercial/industrial properties – not residential. Second, the “special” complaint must allege, with particularity, that the subject property’s value decreased between January 1, 2020 and October 1, 2020 as a direct result of COVID-19 (or state orders associated with COVID-19). Examples would include income-producing properties such as restaurants, hotels, office buildings, and parking garages where the operating income associated with the property decreased as a result of COVID-19.

Although property owners are generally allowed to file only one property tax complaint in every three-year period, the new law waives this “one shot” rule. In addition, the new law allows tenants who are responsible for paying property taxes to file complaints with the property owner’s consent. There are many intricacies to the preparation of the complaint and the presentation of evidence at the hearing before the local board of revision. An experienced attorney can navigate this process for you and optimize this valuable opportunity for a property tax reduction.

 

Jeffrey A. Levine, Esq., Strauss Troy Co., LPA, is a member of Strauss Troy's Litigation and Corporate/Business Practice Groups.

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