The general responsabilities for the Auditor's Office are:
- General Accounting
The County Auditor is the Chief Fiscal Officer in the County. It is his/her responsibility to account for the millions of dollars received each year by the County and to issue warrants (checks) in payment of all County obligations. These obligations include the distribution of tax dollars to the townships, villages, cities, school districts and library systems as well as other county agencies. The Auditor's General Accounting Department is the overseer of all county funds. The General Accounting Department also maintains the official records of all receipts, disbursements and fund balances. In addition, it is the Auditor's responsibility to serve as the paymaster for all County employees. Finally, the Auditor is responsible for distributing motor vehicle license fees, gasoline taxes, estate taxes, fines, and local government funds in addition to real estate, personal property, and manufactured home taxes.
- Manufactured Housing
Under Ohio law, it is the responsibility of owners of manufactured homes (house trailers) to register their homes with the County Auditor for tax purposes. Annually, the Auditor's office assesses each manufactured home and prepares a tax list. Tax bills are sent to each owner semi-annually. The house trailer tax is distributed back to the local taxing districts (townships and schools) in the same manner as real estate taxes. Countywide, there are over 1,500 manufactured homes on the tax lists.
- Homestead Exemption
Real Estate Property Tax Rollback and Homestead Exemptions are forms of property tax relief. Every property taxpayer receives the tax rollback. This law was enacted several years ago with the enactment of the state income tax. The Auditor's office also administers the owner occupancy tax reduction for residential and agricultural parcels on which there is a home site occupied by the owner.
The homestead exemption provides a reduction in property taxes to any senior or disabled citizen on the dwelling that is the individual's principal place of residence and up to one acre of land of which an eligible individual is an owner. The reduction is equal to the taxes that would otherwise be charged on up to $25,000 of the market value of an eligible taxpayer's homestead.
- Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment
Jefferson County has close to 60,000 separate parcels of real property. It is the duty of the Auditor to see that every parcel of land, and the buildings thereon, are fairly appraised and assessed for tax purposes. A general reappraisal is mandated by Ohio law every six years with an update at the three year midpoint. The office maintains a detailed record of the appraisal on each parcel in the county. These records are open for public inspection. For taxation purposes, you are assessed at 35% of the fair market value.
- Special Assessments
Special assessments are not part of your real estate tax, but are included as a separate item on the real estate tax bill. These could include such items as ditch assessments or improvement levies such as street paving, curbs, lighting, sidewalks, and sewer or water lines. The Auditor is required by law to keep an account of the special assessments and to place them on the tax duplicate as separate items. The money collected is returned to the city, village, township, or county office which imposed the assessment.
- Real Estate Taxes and Rates
Under Ohio Revised Code, the County Auditor cannot raise or lower property taxes. Tax rates are determined by the budgetary requests of each governmental unit, as authorized by the vote of the people, and are computed in strict accordance with procedures required by the Division of Tax Equalization, Ohio Department of Taxation.
Annually, the Auditor prepares the general Tax List. Your tax bill is based on the tax rate multiplied by your valuation on this tax list. This is your proportional share of the cost of operating your local government including schools, townships, villages, and the county.
Ohio law limits the amount of taxation without vote of the people to what is known as the "10 mill limitation" ($10.00 per 1,000 of assessed valuation) Any additional real estate taxes for any purpose must be voted by the county residents. Your "tax rate" is an accumulation of all these levies and bond issues.
View Real Estate Taxes by District
- Personal Property Taxes
The County Auditor, as an agent for the Ohio Department of Taxation, is responsible for the Tangible Personal Property Tax laws. Generally speaking, anyone doing business in Ohio is subject to tangible personal property tax on equipment, furniture, fixtures, and inventory used in the business. The Tangible Personal Property Tax is distributed back to the local taxing districts in the same manner as real estate taxes. Personal property is assessed from tax returns which are to be filed. The Tax Commissioner is responsible for administering the Personal Property Tax laws; the County Auditor serves as a deputy for the Tax Commissioner in this capacity.
The Auditor's office is the focal point in the county for the issuance of licenses for dogs, kennels, vendors, and cigarettes. Dog licenses comprise the largest number of licenses sold. The annual dog registration is a service designed to benefit the animal, owner, and community. Vendor licenses authorize businesses to sell tangible property to the public and collect sales tax, a part of which is returned for use on the local level.
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