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Tax relief on the way for farmers and rural property owners

Agriculture plays an important role in Ohio’s economy. Property taxes, however, can stifle the agriculture industry – especially when paired with crippling market conditions.

As we predicted in a blog post late last year, rural property owners across the state have been hit hard with property taxes this year. Many saw their tax burdens double. With crop prices down and some farmers struggling to stay in business, property tax hikes couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Fortunately, hope may be on the horizon. Two key agencies – the Ohio Department of Taxation and the Ohio Farm Bureau – are working to make adjustments that would result in more accurate (and less burdensome) property tax values. Some of these changes have already been implemented. Additional recommendations currently under review would:

  • Reduce tax values for woodland and conservation property that isn’t being farmed
  • Alleviate some of the tax burdens for struggling farmers
  • Correct mistaken assumptions that factor into current property tax calculations
  • Keep more rural property in the hands of individual owners rather than commercial developers

As a whole, the proposed changes would make it easier for farmers to maintain their livelihood. They would also promote conservation efforts by reducing the tax burden for owners of unfarmed woodlands.

The complexities surrounding tax values aren’t limited to rural properties. Owners of residential and commercial property likewise often face gray areas in seeking accurate property tax valuations. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution. Both large-scale regulatory changes and individual legal challenges are often necessary for keeping property taxes in check.

Source: Springfield News-Sun, “More changes may be on tap for property taxes,” Matt Sanctis, May 20, 2015

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