Real Property Tax: Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Recency Presumption for Sale Occurring 29 Months Prior to the Tax Lien Date

By: Richard Fry

Former R.C. 5713.03 required a county auditor to consider a recent arm’s-length sale in determining a property’s true value for real property tax purposes. “The best evidence of the true value in money of real property is an actual, recent sale of property in an arm’s -length transaction.” Conalco v. Monroe Cty. Bd. of Revision, 50 Ohio St.2d 129 (1977). In such cases, the party objecting to the value based on such a sale was limited to challenging the recency or arm’s-length nature of the sale. Generally, it has been presumed that a sale within 24 months of the tax lien date was recent.  However, the Ohio Supreme Court recently declined to extend this presumption to a sale occurring 29 months prior to the tax lien date when a different value was determined as part of the county auditor’s six-year reappraisal. Akron City School Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Summit Cty. Bd. of Revision, 2014-Ohio-1588.

Note the current version of R.C. 5713.03 provides that a county auditor may consider a recent arm’s-length sale, meaning the consideration of such a sale is no longer mandatory.  2012 Am.Sub.H.B. No. 487.