Significant Real Property Tax Savings Available for Property Owners Affected by COVID-19

Yesterday, Governor DeWine signed S.B. 57 into law, which allows property owners to reduce their 2020 property tax bills by filing a special “COVID-19 Complaint” with the county due by September 2, 2021. Complaints may be filed beginning August 3, 2021. Additionally, the statutory restriction for filing only one complaint in a 3-year valuation period is suspended, so even property owners who already filed a property valuation complaint within the triennial valuation period can still file a COVID-19 Complaint for 2020. While the opportunity is available to all property owners, businesses in the food and restaurant, retail, hospitality industries and other hard-hit industries will likely be able to reap the largest benefit.

The special COVID-19 Complaint will enable taxpayers to request an October 1, 2020 valuation date instead of the standard January 1, 2020 date, allowing county boards of revision to consider COVID-19’s negative impact on real property values after the January 1 valuation date. In other words, the complaint must reflect a reduction in true value between January 1 and October 1 due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic or a state COVID-19 order.

Special care must be taken in preparing the complaint, as the property owner must allege with particularity how COVID-related circumstances caused a decline in the property’s value. Citing solely to general decline in economic or market conditions could cause the complaint to be dismissed. While not obligated, we recommend taxpayers electing to pursue this opportunity contact an appraiser as soon as possible (or have us contact one on your behalf). Many property owners will likely take advantage of this opportunity and appraisers’ time is expected to fill up quickly.

Buckingham’s team of Tax and Real Estate attorneys are standing by to assist property owners take advantage of this limited tax savings opportunity. If you want to pursue this opportunity or have questions about the process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Attorney Steven A. Dimengo is Managing Partner of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC. He helps clients with complicated tax challenges including Ohio sales/use, income, commercial activity and federal taxes and has represented clients before the Ohio Supreme Court. Steve can be reach at [email protected] or 330.258.6460.

Richard B. Fry III is a partner and Buckingham’s Taxation Practice Group Chair. He focuses on state and local tax compliance and controversies, including Ohio and multistate sales/use tax, commercial activity tax, and personal income tax issues. Rich can be reached at [email protected] or 330.258.6423

Nathan M. Fulmer is an associate in Buckingham’s Taxation Practice Group. He represents clients on a broad range of tax planning and controversy matters. His joint degree in taxation allows him to provide unique solutions when assisting clients on business matters. Nate can be reached at [email protected] or 330.258.6464.

About Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs:

Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC is a corporate law firm that counsels middle-market executives and business leaders all over Ohio and beyond. With offices in Canton, Akron, and Cleveland, Buckingham offers clients Business Law Reimagined through sophisticated and practical legal services. Serving the region for more than 100 years, Buckingham’s mission is to deliver meaningful experiences through the practice of law, exceed expectations in terms of service, counsel and business sense, and to offer continuous value to the industries, communities and clients they serve. For more information, news and updates, visit