Personal Property Tax

County Bulletin

TO:  ALL COUNTY AUDITORS - Bulletin No. 175

FROM:  Stanley J. Bowers, Tax Commissioner

RE:  Issuance of Preliminary and Amended Preliminary Assessments by County Auditors, and use of Forms 904A, 904B. and 904C in connection therewith.

DATE:  March 15, 1962

Recently several cases have been brought to my attention wherein County Auditors have increased values of taxable property as reported by taxpayers in their original returns or added penalties and additional charges thereto for filing deficiencies without issuing preliminary assessment certificates evidencing such action. This action, of course, is contrary to law and the purported additional assessments resulting therefrom are void. The assessment of property by the county auditor, if no return has been filed by the taxpayer, and changes in the values as reported in a given taxpayer's return, or the addition of penalties and additional charges, can only be accomplished by the means of preliminary or amended preliminary assessment certificates, respectively, and I am bringing this matter to your attention so that you may comply with the law in the future.

In the foregoing connection Section 5711.24, Revised Code, provides in part as follows:

" * * * The action of the assessor in assessing taxable property under Sections 5711.01 to 5711.36, inclusive, Revised Code, shall be taken as to taxable property required to be listed in a return, whether listed or not, and whether such return has been made or not. Such action shall be evidenced by a preliminary or final assessment certificate in such form as the commissioner prescribes, and when issued by the commissioner it shall be under his official seal. The filing of a return with the county auditor pursuant to sections 5711.01 to 5711.36, inclusive of the Revised Code, shall be deemed to be the preliminary assessment of the taxable property contained therein when entered on the proper duplicate by the county auditor. ***"(Underscoring added. Such language was added by amendment and was effective August 8, 1955, 126 Ohio Laws 52 (53). )

Subsequent to such amendment and on March 9, 1956, the Tax Commissioner issued County Auditor Bulletin No. 105 wherein he stated in part:

"* * * Since the values and tax as computed by the taxpayer, and as submitted by him, are those authorized for transfer to the county auditor's tax list and duplicate, it is evident that the addition of penalties for filing deficiencies, or alterations of values or tax by the county auditor, make necessary the preparation of preliminary assessment certificates on Forms 904A, B, and C, as has been done in the past. When it is necessary to prepare this assessment form, 904C (Tax Commissioner's copy) should be attached to the return when forwarded to this department. * * *"

Additionally, and on October 16, 1959, the Tax Commissioner issued County Auditor Bulletin No. 142, wherein he stated, in part, on pages 2 and 3 thereof as follows:

4. Preliminary Assessments

Tax returns filed with the County Auditor, pursuant to Sections 5711.01 to 5711.36, inclusive, of the Revised Code, shall be deemed to be preliminarily assessed when the value of the taxable property contained therein is entered on the proper duplicate by the county auditor (Section 5711.24, Revised Code, and County Auditor Bulletin No. 105).

5. Alteration of Values

Since the values and tax as computed by the taxpayer, and as submitted by him, are those authorized for transfer to the county auditor's tax list and duplicate, it is evident that the addition of penalties, or alterations of values, or tax by the county auditor make necessary the preparation of preliminary assessment certificates on Forms 904A, 904B and 904C as in the past. When it is necessary to prepare this assessment form, 904C (Tax Commissioner's copy) should be attached to the return when forwarded to this department." (County Auditor Bulletin No.105. )In view of all of the foregoing, and since it appears that the provisions of Section 5711.24, Revised Code, and the County Auditor Bulletins issued with regard thereto, have not been followed fully thereby resulting in many assessments that are invalid, the Tax Commissioner hereby prescribes the following procedure to be used in making assessments by county auditors.

Forms 904A, 904B and 904C (specimens attached) shall be prepared and issued in all instances where a taxpayer has not filed a return and a preliminary assessments made by the county auditor; and, in all instances where the taxpayer has filed a return and an amended preliminary assessment is made by way of altering the values or tax as submitted or by way of adding penalties or additional charges. In the latter instances the word " Amended" shall be typed or stamped on the Forms 904A, 904B and 904C. Form 904C shall be attached to the return and if the return is forwarded to this department then such form shall accompany the return. (Section 5711.25, Revised Code.)