Duties and Responsibilities of County Auditors

The County Auditor is responsible for a myriad of duties across all levels of county government. Although the Auditor is best known for the role of tax assessor, that is but one of the many functions of the office. The following descriptions help give more details into the many diverse duties of the County Auditor.

Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment
Ohio has more than 5.5 million parcels of real property. It is the duty of the Auditor to see that every parcel of land and the building thereon are fairly and uniformly appraised and assessed for tax purposes. A general reappraisal is mandated by law every six years, with an update at the three year midpoint. Warren County has over 90,000 parcels. Property was last appraised for Tax Year 2012, payable in 2013, and will be updated again in Tax Year 2015.

Real Estate Taxes and Tax Rates
Annually, the County Auditor prepares the General Tax List upon which the tax bills are derived. The bill is based on the tax rate in effect for the local government where the property is located, multiplied by the property valuation. The Auditor certifies the tax rate to the Ohio Department of Taxation. The Auditor also calculates, annually, bond and emergency levy rates.

Special assessments are included as a separate item on the tax bill. These include items such as street paving, sewer or water lines, etc. The Auditor is required to keep an accounting of these special assessments, to place them on the tax duplicate as separate items, and to return the collected money to the local government which levied the assessment.

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 each county and to issue warrants (checks) in payment of all County obligations, including the distribution of tax dollars to each township, village, city, school district, library system and county agency.

The Auditor is the paymaster for all county employees. He/she also distributes motor vehicle license fees, gasoline taxes, estate taxes, fines and local government funds in addition to real estate, personal property and manufactured home taxes.

As Chief Fiscal Officer, the Auditor is required to prepare the county's annual financial report. Most counties prepare a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

Manufactured Housing
Owners of manufactured homes are required to register their homes with the County Auditor for tax purposes annually. The Auditor assesses each manufactured home and prepares a separate manufactured home tax list.

Property Tax Rollback and Homestead Exemption
The County Auditor administers the 10% rollback of property taxes to all taxpayers. They also administer the 2-1/2% reduction for residential and agricultural parcels on which there is a homesite occupied by the owner.

The County Auditor also administers Ohio's Homestead Exemption program in which senior citizens and permanently disabled individuals are eligible to receive reductions in real estate and manufactured housing taxes.

Estate Taxes
The County Auditor acts as an agent for the Ohio Tax Commissioner and is responsible for local administration of Estate Tax proceedings and distribution of taxes.

Weights and Measures
The County Auditor is the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the county per O.R.C. Section 319.55. He must see that all state laws relating to weights and measures are strictly enforced throughout his county. The Warren County Weights and Measures Inspector (an employee of the Auditor's Office) uses highly accurate equipment to test and inspect commercial weighing and measuring devices such as scales and gasoline pumps. The state assists him in the testing and inspection of vehicle and livestock scales, fuel meters (fuel oil, gasoline and L. P. gas) and packaged consumer goods. A seal is usually put on to show that the equipment was tested and found correct. The seal may vary from state to state and county to county, but always look for a seal. If you do not see one, ask the store manager. Contact the Auditor's Office if seals are missing.

The Auditor issues licenses for dogs, kennels, vendors and cigarettes. Dog licenses comprise the largest number of licenses sold. Vendor licenses authorize businesses to sell tangible property to the public and collect sales tax.

Department of Information Technology
The County Auditor is responsible for the management of the Department of Information Technology and serves as the Chief Administrator of the Automatic Data Processing Board. Changes in computer systems and planning must be approved by the Board to automate various county functions. Improving financial and record keeping systems of the county improves services, reduces costs and provides officials with a modern management tool to better administer the business of government.

Additional Statutory Board and Commission Duties
The Auditor is the Secretary of the Budget Commission. This commission must annually review the tax budgets of all taxing districts within the county to determine that all tax levies are properly authorized and allocated to local government.

The Auditor is the Secretary of the Board of Revision. This Board is responsible for ruling on property assessment prior to the issuance of the real estate tax list. Complaints on valuation are also heard.

The Auditor is a member of the Tax Incentive Review council that grants an exemption from taxation for abatements, enterprise zones or tax increment financing. The Council annually reviews all agreements of existing exemption.

The Auditor is a member of the Records Commission. This Commission is responsible for the review of all applications for records disposal.