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Defiance County Auditor

Important Note on Personal Property Tax
Due to the phase-out of personal property tax in Ohio, the 2008 tax return will be the final annual personal property tax return required to be filed.

Duties and Responsibilities of the County Auditor

Jill Little, Auditor

Jill Little

The County Auditor is the chief fiscal officer of Defiance County. It is her responsibility to account for almost 64 million dollars received each year by the County and to issue warrants (checks) in payment of all County obligations, including the distribution of tax dollars to Defiance County itself and to its twelve townships, three villages, one city, five school districts, one vocational school, one park board, and one library system as well as other County agencies. The Auditor’s general accounting department is the bookkeeper of all County funds and maintains the official records of all receipts, disbursements and fund balances. As Chief Fiscal Officer, the Auditor is required by law to prepare the annual financial report of the County.

It is the County Auditor's responsibility to serve as the paymaster for approximately 480 county employees.

The County Auditor also distributes motor vehicle license fees, gasoline taxes, estate taxes, fines, and local government funds in addition to real estate and personal property taxes.

General Accounting

  • Administration and Distribution of Tax Revenues
  • Accounting for all County Funds
  • Administration of County Payroll for approximately 480 county employees.

Real Estate Assessment

  • Defiance County has more than 25,700 separate parcels of real property. It is the duty of the County Auditor’s office to see that every parcel of land and the buildings thereon are fairly and uniformly appraised and then assessed for tax purposes.
  • A general reappraisal is mandated by Ohio Law every six years and an update every three years.
  • The office maintains a detailed record of the appraisal on each parcel in the County, and these records are open for public inspection.

Real Estate Tax Duplicate and Rates

  • Preparation of General Tax List and Duplicate
  • Administration of Special Assessments
  • Administration of Tax Refunds and Abatements

Under law, the County Auditor cannot and does not raise or lower property taxes. Tax rates are determined by the budgetary requests of each governmental unit, as authorized by a vote of the people, and are computed in strict accordance with procedures required by the State Department of Tax Equalization.

Annually the Auditor prepares the general tax list and duplicate. Your Tax bill is based on the tax rate multiplied by your valuation on this duplicate. This is your proportionate share of the cost of operating your local government including:

  • Schools
  • Townships
  • Villages
  • County

These funds may be used for services such as roads, fire and rescue, Senior Center, mental health needs, parks, emergency services, etc.

Ohio law limits the amount of taxation without a 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 County residents. Your tax rate is an accumulation of all these levies and bond issues.

Special Assessments

Special assessments are not a part of your real estate tax, but are included as a separate item on the real estate tax bill. These include such items as:

  • Ditch assessments
  • Improvement levies (street paving, curbs, lighting, sidewalks, and sewer or water lines)

The Auditor is required by law to keep an accounting of these special assessments, to place them on the tax duplicate as a separate item, and to return the money collected to the village, township or county office that levied the assessment.

Weights & Measures

The County Auditor is the sealer of weights and measures for the entire County, thus protecting the general public from possible losses which may occur from faulty measuring devices, such as scales and pumps. She is charged with the responsibility of insuring that all State laws relating to weights and measures are strictly enforced. One method of enforcement is performing “spot-checks” on prepackaged items to test the accuracy of the weight of the contents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are deeds transferred?
Deeds are transferred in the Auditor’s office after they have had the legal description approved by the Engineers office.

If I think I did not receive the right amount of fuel for my vehicle, what do I do?
You may call the Auditor’s office to report the problem. The station and the pump will then be checked. We cannot check the quality of the fuel at this time.

Do I need a permit to move my mobile/manufactured home? Do I have to register my mobile/manufactured home? Do I pay taxes?
Yes, a new law passed in 2000 requires a permit to move a mobile or manufactured home. The cost is $5.00 and is purchased in our office. Failure to purchase the permit will result in a $100 fine for both the MH owner and the mover. All manufactured/mobile homes must be registered within 30 days of placement in our county. The MH taxes are similar to real estate taxes.

When do I purchase my dog’s license? At what age is the dog license necessary?
All dogs at least 3 months old must be registered by January 31st of each year. All dogs new to the county must be licensed within 30 days of residency. Renewal applications are mailed each year the last week of November. The cost is $20.00 per license. The late fee is also $20.00 per Ohio law. Applications may be printed from our website or you may call our office at 419-782-1926, or 1-800-675-3953.

Where do I purchase a vendor’s license?
Vendor's licenses allow a retailer to collect sales tax. It is not a license to use to avoid paying sales tax. The application is available on our website and in our office. The application fee is $25.00.

How do I qualify for the owner occupancy tax reduction?
All residents who live in the house they own may apply for the owner occupancy reduction of real estate taxes. If you own more than one home, you may only apply for your main residence. The application is on our website or you may call our office for the form at (419) 784-3111 or 1-800-675-3953.

What is the Homestead Exemption and do I qualify?
If you are at least 65 years of age or totally disabled you may qualify for a reduction on your real estate taxes. You may call (419) 782-1926 or 1-800-675-3953 to request a form or print it off our website.

Where do I pay an estate tax?
Estate tax returns are to be filed in the Probate Court Office within 9 months from the date of death. Checks are to be made payable to the Defiance County Treasurer.

Where do I obtain my cigarette license?
Cigarette licenses are obtained in the Auditor’s office each year in May at a cost of $125.00.

What is CAUV and do I qualify? What is an Ag District?
CAUV stands for Current Agricultural Use Value and active farms may qualify for the reduction in value. If an agricultural property is eligible for enrollment in the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) Program, its taxable value will be decreased according to the State’s valuation table. Properties are appraised based on production rates calculated by the State of Ohio, not on the land’s market value.

To be eligible, properties must be devoted to commercial agricultural use. You must have crops, animals, and/or commercial timber on at least 10 acres, or 11 acres with home site. You may have someone else farm your property. If you have less than 10 acres, or 11 acres with a home-site the properties must have the potential for producing an average yearly gross income, from agricultural production, of at least $2,500. The actual reduction in value is dependent upon the property’s soil type, region, slope and erosion factors.

You may file an initial CAUV application in the County Auditor’s office between the first Monday in January and the first Monday in March. The application is available on our website or you may call our office at 419-784-3111 or 1-800-675-3953 to obtain the form. There is a one-time $25.00 initial filing fee. You must renew the application every year; there is no fee for the yearly renewal.

Failure to renew your application will result in the loss of the value reduction and may result in recoupment of the previous three years of tax savings.

How do I find out if someone owns real estate, or what the market value is of my real estate in Defiance County?
You can click on the real estate search link at the main Auditor’s page and search by owner name, address, or parcel number or, you may call our office at 1-800-675-3953 or (419) 784-3111.