Real Estate Tax Appeals

In our last newsletter, we mentioned that we had met a highly recommended individual who specializes in Property Tax Appeals.  Below is a primer on how the process works.

Each of the 159 county assessors’ offices in Georgia now automatically issue annual assessment notices to all parcel owners.  This is typically done between April 1st and June 30th with a 45-day window in which the property owner can file an appeal to contest the assessed value as determined by the County.   If the property owner has reason to believe that their property could not be sold for  the assessed/taxable value,  they have the right to refute the assessed value by filing a formal appeal with the Assessor’s office.

When contesting, homeowners should fill out the appropriate  paperwork using an amount 30 to 40% below the assessed value as a starting point—Values on real estate have been in decline for the past five years and some of the assessors’ offices have been slow to realize this.

In order to have a chance at getting results, the appeal needs to be documented with corresponding data giving solid proof of the true value of the property. This could include area comparables, and other pertinent evidence to show that the value assessed is unreasonable.

Upon submission, appeals are typically forwarded to the Board of Equalization, which will be the venue where the property owner will present evidence to refute the value and the county representative will do the same to substantiate the value as determined by the County.

Upon hearing all parties, the board will render a decision on what the final fair market value will be for the tax year appealed.  A value established at the board of equalization will typically remain the same for the year appealed plus the following two years, so if it is reduced, the savings compound.