CCH Tax Day Report
A motion to vacate the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals’ (BTA) decision reinstating a county auditor’s property tax assessment of a taxpayer’s property was dismissed because the BTA lacked jurisdiction to vacate a decision after the statutory deadline for appealing decisions had passed. The taxpayer acquired the property after the Board of Revision had reduced the assessment following a complaint by the then property owner but before the BTA reinstated the original assessment after an appeal by the board of education. The taxpayer argued it did not receive notice of the appeal even though it owned the property at the time the appeal was perfected. While, generally, the BTA loses jurisdiction to vacate its decision if the appeal period expires without an appeal having been filed, the only exception for the BTA to grant a timely motion to vacate is when it statutorily fails to transmit a decision to a person entitled to notice. In this case, although the records indicated that a copy of the decision was sent to the taxpayer’s tax mailing address, the taxpayer claimed it did not actually receive any such copy. However, there was no evidence that the copy of the decision was returned as undeliverable, or that the BTA had a reasonable way of knowing that the bank, which held a mortgage on the property and was the taxpayer’s tax escrow agent, would not forward the BTA’s decision to the taxpayer. While the taxpayer argued that the bank had no legal obligation to inform it of the BTA’s decision, there was no law that required the BTA to search for another viable address when the taxpayer had already provided an address for tax purposes. Due to the absence of actual notice to the BTA that the taxpayer’s tax mailing address was invalid or that a different address should have been used, the BTA’s notice was reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise the taxpayer of the decision rendered.
Groveport Madison Local Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision, Supreme Court of Ohio, No. 2015-0078, April 20, 2017, ¶404-622