GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Auditor Larry Betz is warning property owners in Gallia County to beware of out-of-town companies offering their assistance with the revaluation of their properties.
Betz reported that he has recently been made aware of at least one company, Tax Compliance Services, LLC, of Cleveland, that is sending letters to property owners in Gallia County advising them that their property values may be too high thereby costing them additional tax dollars each year.
According to Betz, these letters then offer the company’s assistance with appealing the property’s value, all for a price.
“The company wants to have the property owner allow them to file a board of revision complaint, a BOR as we call it, on their value,” Betz said. “Then they are going to charge them so much to file that form and then anything that they save in taxes, they want about 50 percent for the next three years; but, here’s the thing, people can file that form on their own for free.”
While Betz stated that what the company is doing is not illegal, or a scam, the same valuation appeal can be done at no cost to the property owner.
“This company is trying to make money. It is legal, but I want our people here to know that they don’t need to pay anyone else money, they can do it on their own,” Betz said.
According to Betz, the board of revisions, which consists of the county auditor, county treasurer and one county commissioner meets every spring to discuss the BOR complaints and either raise, lower or not change the value of the appealed property.
“We meet every year to hear the complaints as filed. Sometimes there are things that we don’t see when we are doing reappraisal work from the outside,” Betz said. “We don’t have x-ray vision to see what’s inside, and sometimes people have a legitimate complaint — there’s structural damage that we cannot see — with that being said, if we are allowed in to see it, then we possibly may be able to make an adjustment on the value. Which does usually lower the taxes.”
According to Betz, BOR complaint forms can be picked up for free at the auditor’s office located in the Gallia County Courthouse, 18 Locust Street, or can be found online at www.gallianet.net under the “auditor” tab.
According to the auditor, the board of revisions meets usually in May every year, and property owners who submit complaints concerning the value of their properties have the right to present any testimony that they want before the board during the formal hearing, including their property’s appraisal performed by an independent company.
Once the board has met, property owners who have submitted complaints will generally hear back from the board within 10 days concerning their properties and any adjustments will be made in their second half tax bill.
In order for the board of revisions to hear the property-tax appeals, all forms must be submitted to the county auditor by March 31 of each year.
“That’s the absolute deadline. It has to be filed here, not mailed or postmarked, but it has to be received by March 31 of each year in order for the board to hear it,” he said.
Betz reiterated the fact that the while what Tax Compliance Services, LLC, and other similar companies are doing is legal, a better, easier and free way to appeal property valuation is available for citizens throughout the state, including in Gallia County.
“It’s just a company wanting to make money from our citizens, and they are doing it all over the State of Ohio, it’s not just here,” Betz said. “I want the people here to know that if they don’t feel their values are correct, that they have the right to come in and talk to us. They can come in and file the form here at this office for free. They don’t have to pay anything.”
For more information, the Gallia County Auditor’s Office can be contacted by calling the Gallia County Courthouse at (740) 446-4612.