The Auditor is responsible for a myriad of duties across all levels of county government. Being the county tax assessor is the Auditor’s most well known role. However, the Auditor performs many other functions within the county government. The following information describes the role and duties that the Auditor performs for the county.
Real Estate Department
Ohio has more than 5.5 million parcels of real property. Allen County had over 54,000 parcels in 2011. It is the duty of the Auditor to see that every parcel of land and the building thereon are fairly and uniformly appraised and assessed for tax purposes. Changes in value occur for various reasons including new improvements, the economy, and demolition of buildings. In order to assess the value of a property, a general reappraisal is mandated by law every six years with an update at the three year midpoint. The last reappraisal occurred in 2009. The midpoint update is scheduled for 2012. Allen County is scheduled to undergo its next general reappraisal in 2015. It is also the duty of the Auditor to place a value on any property in which a building permit was issued, an appeal filed or any property involving a land split or boundary survey.
Annually, the Auditor prepares the General Tax List. Tax bills are then derived from this list. The tax bill is based on the effective tax rate for the local government where the property is located. The total tax rate is multiplied by the property valuation. The tax rate is a compilation of all passed levies and bond issues. The Auditor certifies the tax rate to the Ohio Department of Taxation. The Auditor also calculates bond and emergency levy rates annually. Special assessments are included as a separate item on the tax bill. These items include street paving, sewer or water lines, and various other items. The Auditor is required to keep an accounting of these special assessments. The special assessments are placed on the tax duplicate as separate items. The collected money is returned to the local government that levied the assessment.
Owners of manufactured homes are required to register their homes with the Auditor for tax purposes annually. The Auditor assesses each manufactured home and prepares a separate manufactured home tax list. The Auditor also handles the transfer of ownership for manufactured homes.
The Auditor administers the following programs:
- 10% rollback of property taxes to all non-commercial taxpayers.
- 2-1/2% reduction for residential and agricultural parcels on which there is a homesite occupied by the owner.
- Ohio’s Homestead Exemption program in which senior citizens age 65 years or older and permanently disabled individuals under age 65 are eligible to receive reductions in real estate and manufactured housing taxes.
- CAUV is a program in which farmers are able to save tax dollars as farmland is valued based on soil type rather than standard real estate value methods.
The Auditor is the Chief Fiscal Officer for the County. It is the Auditor’s responsibility to account for the millions of dollars received each year by the county. The Auditor issues warrants (checks) in payment for all county obligations, including the distribution of tax dollars to each township, village, city, school district, library system and county agency. The Auditor is the paymaster for all county employees. The Auditor distributes motor vehicle license fees, gasoline taxes, estate taxes, fines and local government funds in addition to real estate, personal property and manufactured home taxes. As Chief Fiscal Officer, the Auditor is required to prepare the county’s annual financial report.
The Auditor issues licenses for dogs, kennels, vendors and cigarettes. Dog licenses serve as a form of identification for your dog in the event the dog becomes lost. Vendor licenses authorize businesses to sell tangible property to the public and collect sales tax. Cigarette licenses are required of those who distribute, store, or sell cigarettes.
The Auditor acts as an agent for the Ohio Tax Commissioner and is responsible for local administration of Estate Tax proceedings and distribution of taxes. In Ohio, an estate tax return is filed within 9 months of a person’s date of death. Ohio has an unlimited marital deduction which allows property to pass from one spouse to another without taxation. The Auditor also issues Consent to Transfer property forms for estates.
Weights and Measures
The Auditor is the Sealer of Weights and Measures. The Auditor must verify that all state laws relating to weights and measures are strictly enforced throughout the county. The Allen County Weights and Measures Inspectors use highly accurate equipment to test and inspect commercial weighing and measuring devices such as scales and gasoline pumps. A seal is usually put on to show that the equipment was tested and found correct. If you do not see a seal ask the store manager to provide the information. If the seal is missing, please contact the Auditor’s Office so that an inspection can be made.
The Auditor is responsible for the management of the County Information Technology Department and serves as the Chief Administrator of the Automatic Data Processing Board. Changes in computer systems and planning must be approved by the Board to automate various county functions. Improving financial and record keeping systems of the county improves services, reduces costs and provides officials with a modern management tool to better administer the business of government. Therefore, technology enhancements are a priority of the Auditor.
Statutory Board and Commission Duties
The Auditor is the Secretary of the Budget Commission. This commission annually reviews the tax budgets of all taxing districts within the county to determine that all tax levies are properly authorized and allocated to local government.
The Auditor is the Secretary of the Board of Revision. This Board is responsible for ruling on property assessment prior to the issuance of the real estate tax list. Another responsibility of the Board is to review disputes brought by taxpayers regarding their real property valuation.
The Auditor is a member of the Tax Incentive Review Council which grants an exemption from taxation for abatements, enterprise zones or tax increment financing. The Council reviews all agreements of existing exemption annually.
The Auditor is a member of the Records Retention Commission. The Commission sets rules for retention and disposal of county records. This Commission also reviews all applications for records disposal.
The County Commissioners appointed the Auditor to the Public Defender Commission Board in 2011. This board appoints the County Public Defender and approves the budget request submitted to the Commissioners.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
The GIS department is responsible for maintaining the mapping base layers, including tax parcel boundaries, along with the street and address information found on the County GIS Mapping system. This department also maintains the soil maps for the CAUV program. The aerial color photographs are maintained in this department as well.