- What should I do if I think I may have unclaimed funds?
If you believe you may have unclaimed funds, please write to:
Lake County Auditor
Attn: Unclaimed Funds
105 Main Street
Painesville, OH 44077
Provide your current name and initials, along with any prior names you have used, such as maiden names. If you find accounts belonging to you or someone you know, you have the following options.
- Print the Bond Form, complete it and return it to us at the above address for processing
- If you are unable to print the form, you can email us at [email protected] and we will mail a claim form to you.
The claim form must be completed, signed and notarized. If there are multiple claims, a form needs to be completed for each dollar amount. Please mail the form(s) to the Auditor’s Office address listed above.
All claims must have the proper proof of claim.
Once the claim form is received in our office, processing takes approximately 30 business days. Many claims require authorization to pay from the originating agency; if this is the case, it may take a little longer.
Please visit the Unclaimed Funds list for names of those with claims.
- How can I have a lost check reissued?
There may come a time when you are expecting a check from the Auditor’s office that you do not receive. Unfortunately, from time to time checks do become lost. If this should occur, please contact the Auditor’s Office. The check needs to be over 30 days old before it will be considered a lost check. A new check will not be issued until the previous check is over 30 days old. When the check is over 30 days old, please fill out the Bond form. You will receive a new check in approximately fourteen days from the date you filled out the form with the condition that the check is over 30 days old.
- Are There Different Vendor’s Licenses for Different Types of Businesses?
Yes. Please visit the Ohio Department of Taxation’s website for a complete list and description. The county auditor can only issue a regular vendor’s license.
- What if I am making sales outside of Lake County?
You must obtain a Transient Vendor’s License. These are only issued by the Ohio Department of Taxation to vendors who transport stocks of goods to temporary places of business or exhibits in a county where they have no fixed place of business in order to make sales.
- Are Vendor’s Licenses Transferable?
You must have an active regular vendor’s license for each fixed place of business from which taxable retail sales are made.
A regular vendor’s license, which is issued by the Lake County Auditor or the ODT, to cover a fixed place of business, may be transferred from one existing business location to another when you move an existing business to a new location within the same county.
If the business location is being moved to a different county, a new regular vendor’s license must be obtained from the County Auditor of the different county.
A vendor who is moving an existing business to a new location within the same county and wishes to transfer the existing regular vendor’s license must contact the Lake County Auditor or submit a transfer application (ST3 TL) to the Ohio Department of Taxation.
These applications can be obtained at the County Auditor’s Office or with the Ohio Department of Taxation. If approved, the Ohio Department of Taxation will update its file, issue a transfer license, and advise the Lake County Auditor.
There is no fee for transferring a regular vendor’s license from one location to another within the same county.
- What if there is a change in ownership?
Any change in ownership (sole proprietor to partnership, partnership to corporation, corporation to sole proprietor, partnership to sole proprietor, etc.) requires a new license.
- What if there is a change in mailing address?
A change in mailing address does not require a new license.
- I don’t agree with my property value, how can I challenge it?
There are two methods available to challenge your property value. Between January 1 and March 31, you may file a formal appeal with the Lake County Board of Revision. Between April 1 and September 30, you may file an informal appeal with the appraisal department of the Auditor’s office. In order to file an informal appeal, you must have one of the following: 1) a recent private appraisal, not older than 2 years or, 2) a purchase agreement not older than 2 years. A written request to appeal the value must accompany the appraisal or purchase agreement.
- Can someone file an appeal on behalf of another person?
The best advice for this question is to seek legal counsel from an attorney. Attorneys are always able to sign and file an appeal on behalf of an owner. If the person signing and filing the form is NOT the owner your appeal may not be successful in being accepted.
- When will I hear something about my filing?
It takes time to gather all of the filings after the March 31 deadline. Any filing where the complainant is seeking a change in value more than $50,000, has to be sent to the local Board of Education as they have the statutory right to review and possibly file a counter-complaint against your claim. Other appeals (that are less than a $50,000 value change) are reviewed in house for content and may be subject to a settlement offer or a hearing based on what you provide. YOU WILL RECEIVE NOTICE OF ANY HEARING AT LEAST 2 WEEKS PRIOR to the hearing date by e-mail AND certified mail. Please accept certified mail. By law we have to send certified mail for hearing notices as well as decision
- Can I reschedule a hearing?
You are allowed one reschedule. After one reschedule a hearing will be scheduled and held.
- Do I have to attend a hearing?
It is in your best interest to attend a hearing so that the Board may ask you questions about your property and anything that you submitted as evidence.
- I went to the Board of Revision hearing and testified about my property but they didn’t change my value. Why?
When filing an appeal the burden of proof is on the property owner. There are many Supreme Court cases that establish this. An owner that is appealing their property value must present substantial evidence that shows what the value should be. A professional appraisal by a credentialed appraiser or a recent sale (within 24 months of the lien date) showing an arms-length transaction is the best evidence of value.
- I provided comparable sales or a Comparative Market Analysis but the Board of Revision didn’t do anything with them.
Merely providing comparable sales is not enough. Comparable sales need to be adjusted for differences between the subject property and the comparable sales. Adjustments should be performed by a state-credentialed appraiser. Differences of age, style, land size, condition, and other amenities have to be considered and adjusted for as needed so that the comparable sales are tailored to be like the subject property.
- I do not agree with the decision of the Board of Revision – what can I do?
You may file a further appeal with either the Lake County Common Pleas Court or the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals. If you choose Common Pleas court you must pay a filing fee and prepare your own filings and briefs. If you choose the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals you must file form DTE 4 and YOU MUST FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS ON THE DTE4 FORM. Often, cases are dismissed at the state level because the filer did not follow important instructions on the form. See more information at https://bta.ohio.gov
- Can I file another appeal on my value in a different year if I didn’t agree with the first decision?
You may only file one appeal per three-year period. Three-year periods start with each county-wide reappraisal. Example: if the last reappraisal was 2018 – you may only file one appeal for the tax years 2018, 2019, 2020. The next time you could file would be for tax year 2021.
- Does the Board of Revision (or Auditor’s Office) notify my mortgage company that the taxes/value have been changed?
No. This is the responsibility of the owner if the taxes are escrowed with a mortgage payment.
- I just purchased my home for less than the value shown by the Auditor’s office; how can I request a lower market value?
If you purchased your home on the open market, you can submit a copy of your purchase agreement to the Auditor’s office appraisal department. An appraiser will review the information and adjust the value accordingly. This can be done anytime between April 1 and September 30.
Note: An open market purchase is an arms-length transaction in which the seller is not selling under duress, such as a sheriff’s sale or a short sale
- I tore down a building on my property. Why am I still being taxed on the building?
In order to receive the proper valuation reduction on destroyed or damaged buildings, you will need to fill out and submit a DTE 26 form to our office. This form is available on our website under the “Forms” section. If you need help filling out the form, an appraiser in the Auditor’s office will be happy to assist you
- What is the Homestead Exemption?
The homestead exemption provides a reduction in property taxes to qualified senior or disabled citizens, or a surviving spouse, on the dwelling that is the individual’s principal place of residence. It exempts the value of the property $25,000
- Do I qualify for the Homestead Exemption?
To receive the homestead exemption you must be 1) at least 65 years of age, or determined to be permanently disabled, or a surviving spouse during the year you file and 2) own and occupied your home as your principle place of residence on January 1st of the year in which you are applying.
- I think I qualify, how do I apply?
You can fill out a DTE105A Homestead Application and submit to the Auditor’s office by mail or walk-in. At this time we can’t accept applications by email. If you qualify, the exemption will be added to your parcel. If you don’t qualify, you will receive a notice by mail.
- Do I have to reapply every year?
No. Every year you are on the program, you will receive a continuing application in the mail. If nothing has changed that affects your qualifications for the exemption, you can disregard this form.
- What is the enhanced Homestead Exemption for veterans and how do I apply?
This version of homestead exempts the value of a property by $50,000. You must be 100% disabled by or be receiving 100% compensation for service-connected injuries on January 1 of the year for which the exemption is sought. If you feel you may qualify you can fill out a DTE105I Homestead Application for Veterans and submit to the Auditor’s office by mail or walk-in.
- What is the Owner Occupancy Credit (OOC)?
OOC is a credit that is calculated by your taxing district’s reduction factor based on the taxes charged by qualified levies. To receive the OOC reduction, you must own and occupy your home as principal place of residence on Jan. 1 of the year you are applying. Homeowners are only allowed this reduction on one property. The property must be in the name of an individual or a trust.
- Why am I not receiving the Owner Occupancy Credit (OOC)?
To receive the credit, you must fill out a DTE105C Owner Occupancy Credit application and return it to the Auditor’s Office by walk-in, mail or email.
I’ve been living at my home for several years and wasn’t receiving the Owner Occupancy Credit.
- Can I get credited for those years?
No. Under most circumstances, the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) only allows a recoupment for one year. It is the responsibility of the tax payer to review their tax bill and contact the Auditor’s Office to notify us of any potential issues with the tax bill.
- What is required to be eligible for the CAUV reduction?
Any tract of agricultural land 10 acres or more which has been in commercial agricultural use for the last 3 years is eligible. A smaller tract may be included under this section if the tract produced an average gross income of $2,500 or more from sales of agricultural products during the previous three years and if there is anticipated gross income of such amount.
- The tract of land must be devoted exclusively to agricultural use.
- Land used exclusively for commercial animal or poultry husbandry, aquaculture, apiculture, the commercial production of field crops, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, timber, nursery stock, ornamental trees, sod or flowers.
- Land devoted to and qualified for payment or other compensation under a land retirement or conservation program with an agency of the federal government.
- What does the “Commercial Production of Timber” mean?
Land devoted to the commercial production of timber means woodland of at least 10 acres which is being managed and maintained as directed by a Woodland Management Plan (a copy of which must be attached to your application) prepared by a service forester through ODNR or by a consulting forester, so as to result in the eventual harvest of that timber. A list of consulting foresters and their contact information can be found at the following link www.osafdirectory.com
- Can noncommercial “Woodland” qualify for the program?
Woodland acreage on which no commercial timber is being grown may qualify for the program under certain circumstances. If the farm listed on the application has ten acres or more of qualified land and the wooded land is part of or adjacent to that tract, the wooded property may also qualify for the program. Wooded acreage that is not in commercial production and is part of a farm with fewer than ten acres of qualified land does not qualify for this program.
- What if my tract of land has multiple uses, can I still apply for CAUV?
Some applicants may own mixed-use parcels where only a portion of the land is qualified for the program. These parcels may be enrolled in the program as long as the areas are independently qualified under the above guidelines and are appropriately identified to the auditor.
- Do I have to reapply each year?
There is a recoupment penalty equal to the tax savings for the past 3 years if land use changes to nonagricultural use or there is a failure to reapply.
- How much will it reduce my taxes?
The actual reductions are dependent on the current agricultural use value (CAUV) which is placed upon the land. Major factors affecting the value are soil type, soil region and land capability class. Agricultural commodity prices also enter into the CAUV value. These values are set by the State and vary according to soil type. The resulting CAUV value replaces the appraised market value. Tax value is set at 35% of the CAUV value. The CAUV values are readjusted on a three year cycle by the State Tax Commissioner to account for changing agricultural production costs and commodities.
- Where do I get a soil map of my property?
Soil maps are FREE and available from the local Soil & Water Conservation District office.
- Soil & Water Conservation District
125 E. Erie Street
Painesville, OH 44077
- How do I transfer the title to a mobile home?
In order to transfer title, taxes need to be paid in full prior to transferring. You will need to visit the Treasurer’s office prior to transferring and receive two stamps on your title indicating taxes have been paid in full. Then you need to go to the Auditor’s office to have the title transferred as indicated by the third and final stamp. Once you have received all three stamps you can go to the title bureau and get a new title.
- Are there any forms I need to complete to transfer the title?
Yes. Depending on the type of transfer, every transfer requires either a DTE100M (EX) or DTE 100M. If the property is on homestead or the CAUV program, you will need to have a DTE 101 and/or DTE 102 form completed and notarized prior to submitting the transfer.
- What is the conveyance fee to transfer a title?
The fee is $1.00 for every $1,000 of the purchase price of land or value. There is also a $0.50 transfer fee for each mobile home transferred.
- What information do I need to transfer the title and do I have to be there?
You need the new owner’s name and address. Grantor (seller), Grantee (buyer) or a representative can submit a title for transfer. Please ensure that all documents are completed, signed and notarized where applicable.
- I want to dispute the amount of the taxes charged to my parcel. What is the process?
You may only appeal the property value. The tax rate is approved by the voters by way of levies. Once a levy is approved it is part of the tax rate until such time it expires unless it is a continuing levy that runs in perpetuity. For information on how to challenge the value of your property, see the Board of Revision FAQ’s section.
- How do I pay my taxes and when are they due?
The Lake County Treasurer’s office accepts payments for property taxes. Please contact that office at (440) 350-2516. Generally speaking, tax bills are mailed out sometime mid-January and mid-June. Payments are due approximately 20-30 days after they are mailed.
- How do I correct or update a property’s owner and/or tax mailing address?
- To correct or update owner’s address please contact the Auditor’s at (440) 350-2532 or [email protected]
- To correct or update the tax mailing address, please contact the Lake County Treasurer’s office at (440) 350-2516.
- How do I correct a spelling error in the ownership name on a parcel that is displayed on your website?
The Auditor’s office is required to display ownership names exactly as they are spelled on the recorded deed. If you believe the name displayed doesn’t match the name on the recorded deed, please contact us at (440) 350-2532 or [email protected]
- How much is the conveyance fee?
The fee is $4.00 for every $1,000 of the purchase price of land or value. The fees are collected by the County Auditor’s Office as a fee assessed to the transfer of property. Conveyance fees are set by the ORC 322.02; State (0.1% or $1.00) and the County Commissioners (0.3% or $3.00 (passed by resolution on 03/26/1990)). There is a $.50 transfer fee charged for each transfer of a parcel of land.
- Does my legal description need to be reviewed by Tax Map before I transfer?
Any transfer that has a consideration and is not a full sublot in a platted subdivision (i.e. part of a sublot, metes and bounds, etc.), MUST BE reviewed by the Tax Map Department. Exempt transfers are not required to be reviewed by the Tax Map Department.
- How do I remove an individual or make changes to my deed of record?
You must have a new deed created. We urge you to contact a title company or lawyer to ensure the proper paperwork is created.
- Do I have to bring my deed in personally?
No. Grantor (seller), Grantee (buyer) or a representative can submit a deed for transfer. Please ensure that all documents are completed, signed and notarized were applicable.
- Can I mail my deed to the Auditor’s office?
No. Currently, the Auditor’s office does not accept transfer by mail.
- Are there any forms I need to complete a transfer of property?
Yes. Depending on the type of transfer, every transfer requires either a DTE100EX or DTE 100. If the property is on homestead or the CAUV program, you will need to have a DTE 101 and/or DTE 102 form completed and notarized prior to submitting the transfer.
- I’d like to split my property. Where do I start?
In order to split a parcel you will need the approval of the planning and zoning department (for townships please contact county planning; for all others please contact the zoning for your municipality). You will also need to contact a licensed surveyor for a new legal description(s) to be prepared. Once new legal description(s) are prepared they will need to be reviewed and stamped by planning and the Tax Map department. These new legal description(s) need to be attached to a new deed to be transferred and recorded.
- I’d like to combine my properties. Where do I start?
If your properties are part of a residential recorded subdivision, you can combine the properties by administrative combination form. All other properties will need to have a new survey prepared by a licensed surveyor. Attach this legal to a deed and have the document transferred and recorded.
- I split and/or combined my parcel(s) last year. Why doesn’t my current tax bill reflect the changes?
Real estate taxes are assessed by how the parcels stood as of January 1 of the current tax year. Any changes to your parcel in that tax year doesn’t affect your tax bill until the following year. For instance, any splits or combinations transferred and recorded in 2020 won’t affect your tax bill until 2021 which you receive in 2022.
- What is a TIF (Tax Increment Financing)?
Tax increment financing or TIF is a public financing method generally used to finance infrastructure improvements. Municipalities typically divert future property tax revenue increases from a district toward an economic development project or public improvement project in the community. TIFs are implemented by ordinance or resolution and must be submitted to the county Auditor with a DTE24 application. The Auditor sends the TIF application to the Ohio Department of Taxation for approval.
- Does a TIF effect the value of my property?
No. The same methods used for valuation of a property that has a TIF attached to it, is the same as those with the same property class that do not have TIF attached to it.
- Does a TIF impact my taxes?
No. The TIF only redirects the destination that the collected tax dollars go
- How can I recognize a TIF parcel when doing a property search?
The Permanent Parcel Numbers, or PPN, for a property that has a TIF will be exactly the same except for the last character. A PPN with a TIF will have a “T” at the end of the PPN string (see below). This is only used for tax purpose and allows the Auditor’s office to separate the value attributed to the TIF. The value of both parcels must be summed to achieve the full appraised value.
- Do I need a vendor’s license in Lake County?
You will need a vendor’s license if you are selling taxable merchandise within Lake County. If you have more specific questions about taxes, selling merchandise, etc, please contact the state directly. They can be reached at 1-888-405-4039 or visit their website at https://www.tax.ohio.gov/sales_and_use/registration.aspx for more information.
- I need a vendor’s license but I will be making sales outside of Lake County?
You may need a transient vendor’s license. We urge you to contact the state to determine the proper license needed. They can be reached at 1-888-405-4039 or visit their website at https://www.tax.ohio.gov/sales_and_use/registration.aspx for more information.
- How do I obtain a vendor’s license?
You need to fill out and submit a ST1 form to the Auditor’s office by mail or walk-in with your payment of $25.00, cash or check. You can also apply by using the Ohio Business Gateway.
- How do I obtain a cigarette license?
You need to fill out and submit a CIG40 form to the Auditor’s office by mail or walk-in with your payment of $125.00, cash or check
- Do I need to renew my cigarette license every year?
Yes. The Auditor’s office will send out a renewal form by mail sometime in April every year. A renewal costs $125.00, cash or check. If renewing by mail, you MUST include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your application and payment.
- I lost my vendor’s and/or cigarette license. How do I get a copy?
We can mail you a copy or you can stop by our office and a copy can be printed for you. There is no fee for this service.