Submitted April 10, 2018
from the Board of Tax Appeals, Nos. 2014-4243 and 2014-4424.
McCuskey, Souers & Arbaugh, and Thomas W. Connors, for
appellant and cross-appellee.
& Kondzer, Thomas A. Kondzer, and Joseph A. Volpe, for
appellee and cross-appellant.
1} In this property-tax appeal, we address the
"continuing-complaint" jurisdiction of appellee
Lorain County Board of Revision ("BOR") over the
value of a property for tax years 2012, 2013, and 2014. The
taxpayer and property owner, appellant and cross-appellee,
Novita Industries, L.L.C., sought a reduction from the value
determined by the Lorain County auditor for those three years
by asserting a continuing complaint. Novita predicated its
claim on its originally filed complaint, which had challenged
the property valuation for tax year 2009; that complaint was
finally determined in 2014, and Novita's continuing
complaint sought to apply the same value determined in that
case to 2012, 2013, and 2014.
2} In its appeal to this court, Novita challenges
the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals ("BTA")
that the BOR lacked continuing-complaint jurisdiction over
tax year 2014. On cross-appeal, appellee and cross-appellant,
Lorain City School District Board of Education
("BOE"), raises a more fundamental challenge by
arguing that Novita failed to invoke the BOR's continuing
complaint jurisdiction for any of the tax years at
issue. Namely, the BOE contends that Novita failed to
state its opinion of the property value on the form it
submitted in 2014 and argues that the alleged omission
deprived the BOR of continuing-complaint jurisdiction over
any of the three years.
3} Because we conclude that the BOR had
continuing-complaint jurisdiction to determine the
property's value for all three years, we reject the
BOE's cross-appeal and we reverse the BTA's refusal
to exercise jurisdiction over tax year 2014. We also order a
modification to correct a clerical error: we direct that the
parcels at issue be assigned an aggregate value of $750, 000
for 2012, 2013, and 2014. And we remand the cause for an
allocation of the aggregate value to the individual parcels.
4} Novita purchased the property at issue, a
warehouse/industrial plant, in June 2009 for $750, 000.
Novita filed a decrease complaint for tax year 2009 seeking a
reduction of value to that sale price, $750, 000. BTA No.
2010-3585, 2014 Ohio Tax LEXIS 2409 (Apr. 15, 2014). The BOR
retained the auditor's valuation and Novita appealed to
the BTA, which ultimately issued a decision on April 15,
2014, that adopted the sale price as the property value for
tax year 2009.
5} 2012 was a reappraisal year in Lorain County, and
the auditor assigned an aggregate value of $1, 647, 310 to
the parcels at issue for that year. On July 14, 2014, Novita
initiated the present proceedings by filing a DTE Form 1, the
officially prescribed form for original complaints under R.C.
5715.19(A); the form explicitly placed tax years 2012 and
2013 at issue. Novita attached to the DTE Form 1 the
BTA's April 15, 2014 decision, which it referred to on
the face of the complaint form; the attachment served both as
a list of the parcels at issue and as the basis for
Novita's claim for reduction. The BOE filed a
countercomplaint form seeking retention of the auditor's
6} The BOR held a hearing at which the parties and
the BOR members extensively discussed whether the 2009 value
of $750, 000 should be carried over into the new triennial
period. In its prehearing brief to the BOR, Novita
specifically requested that the value of $750, 000 be carried
forward to tax years 2012, 2013, and 2014. The BOR concluded
that the law did not permit the carryover, and it therefore
retained the auditor's valuation.
7} On appeal, the BTA held a hearing at which Novita
presented the testimony and appraisal report of Charles G.
Snyder, a member of the Appraisal Institute, plus the
testimony of an officer of Novita. On the basis of his
income-capitalization and sales-comparison approaches, Snyder
opined a value of $750, 000 as of January 1, 2012-an opinion
of value that was equal to the 2009 sale price. Snyder also
criticized the cost-approach valuation set forth on the
property-record card, which expressed a "current
value" of $1, 557, 760.
8} The BTA adopted Snyder's valuation for 2012
and 2013 but ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to determine
the value for tax year 2014. Novita has appealed the
BTA's jurisdictional ruling regarding 2014, and the BOE
has cross-appealed, contending that the BOR lacked