By Josephine Birdsell
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus is working to help Hilltop residents lower increasing property taxes on their homes.
Every three years the Franklin County Auditor updates the sale value of homes. In 2020 sale values of homes on the Hill were reevaluated.
As new, high value properties were constructed on the Hilltop, the sale values of surrounding properties increased. In turn, property taxes for homeowners increased even when homeowners have made no changes to their property.
The Legal Aid Society is working to help homeowners fill out complaint forms with the Franklin County Auditor’s Board of Revision to have the value of their homes reevaluated. Complaint forms are due by March 31.
“Our concern is that elderly homeowners, low-income homeowners, and long term homeowners might see their real estate tax bill jump. And we don’t want to see people forced to sell their property because they can’t afford those real estate taxes,” said Tabitha Woodruff, staff attorney.
Homeowners are responsible for proving that their homes are unfairly valued. So they must submit proof that their home’s value is too highly marked, such as photos of damage in and outside the home, photos of outdated interiors, the closing cost of a recent sale of the home, sale prices of comparable homes in the area or personal income and expenses proving an increased property tax causes an undue burden.
The Legal Aid Society is offering free clinics over Zoom to help homeowners who are under 400 percent of the legal poverty line submit complaints to the board of revision. The society is also offering free legal representation to homeowners under 200 percent of the legal poverty line, and phone banks to answer questions from the general public.
To enter phone banks, homeowners can call 614-525-4663 on March 8 from noon to 2 p.m., March 11 from 6 to 8 p.m., March 12 from 10 a.m. to noon or March 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.