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Business & Economy

Franklin County Auditor Accepting Property Value Appeals From Businesses Affected by Pandemic

Cars are absent from 3rd Street in downtown Columbus on May 6, 2020, in the middle of Ohio's stay-at-home order.
David Holm
/
WOSU
Cars are absent from 3rd Street in downtown Columbus on May 6, 2020, in the middle of Ohio's stay-at-home order.

Businesses who believe their property value decreased due to recent public health orders may now file a COVID-19 complaint with the Franklin County Board of Revision (BOR).

Under a new law, the BOR in the auditor’s office can accept property value appeals for businesses or any property owners affected by the pandemic. Appeals must be filed by September 2.

Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano said that, traditionally, such appeals were used for other types of incidents, such as severe weather.

“If there was a weather incident, we had a mechanism in place. But on that economic incident that COVID-19 absolutely had for small businesses across our community, there wasn’t a way to capture and update value,” he said.

Stinziano said that while his office was showing property values in both residential and commercial areas increasing recently, many businesses were not seeing revenues that reflected the jump. He said hotels around campus are examples of businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“If they were a business that was geared around the university area, with the university shut down or not having the same fall weekend activities, the value of their property wasn’t the same,” Stinziano said.

In order to qualify, property owners must detail how the pandemic or related health orders specifically affected the true value of their property. Anyone who was eligible to file a standard BOR complaint can file a COVID-19 complaint, even if they already filed a standard complaint for tax year 2020.

A spokesperson with Stinziano’s office said in an email that “although any property owner can submit a Board of Revision (BOR) COVID-19 complaint, this process is most likely to benefit commercial property owners who can make the case that their property’s value was impacted by a circumstance related to the COVID-19 pandemic or state COVID-19 order.”

So far, 46 COVID-19 complaints have been filed during the current special filing period, the spokesperson said. In contrast, 3,915 standard complaints were filed for tax year 2020.

Stinziano said all county auditors in Ohio are now accepting COVID-19 Board of Revisions complaints during the special 30-day filing period that began this month, but he estimates only a quarter of those offices have received any.

"[We] encourage any business that feels that they can make the case and meet the statutory circumstances that they should file," he said, while adding that the deadline to apply is September 2.

Stinziano’s office also is holding virtual information sessions this month for any property owner interested in more detail about the opportunity.