Appeal: A tax notice gives an owner the right to file an appeal, or contest the county’s value. Owners have 45 days from the notice date to file.
Assessment: The amount on which a property owner pays taxes. The assessment is 40 percent of the appraised value, less any exemptions.
Assessor: An official in charge of approving tax values and exemptions upon the recommendation of staff. The assessor is typically appointed by county commissioners.
Board of Equalization: A panel of county residents who hear tax appeals for cases not resolved by staff or the board of tax assessors.
County appraiser: A county employee charged with setting the tax value for thousands of parcels by using sales to set trends for an area. The value helps determine your property tax bill.
Distressed sale: A transaction not considered by assessors to be fair market. Any low-value sale to avoid foreclosure or a sale by a financial institution can qualify. Before 2009, assessors didn’t count them in setting values.
Exemption: A tax break. The most common, the homestead exemption, varies from county to county. In Gwinnett, for example, the standard county homestead exemption is $10,000; that amount is deducted from the assessed value for the purposes of calculating certain county taxes.
Fee appraiser: A private-sector expert in valuing property, typically paid $350 or more to study comparable sales and estimate the value of a residential property.
Mill: One dollar in taxes per $1,000 of assessed value.
Millage rate: The property tax rate for a jurisdiction. Separate rates are created for county, city and school taxes.
Notice: A document mailed by the county, usually between April and June, declaring what value the county has set on a property for the current tax year.
Property tax return: A document a property owner can file between Jan. 1 and April 1 to declare to the board of assessors what the owner thinks the property is worth.