FAQs on Georgia property assessments

How did the county come up with the assessed value?

By law, the assessed value is 40% of property fair market value, which is defined as the amount a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for it in an arm’s length, bona fide sale. In determining fair market value, the tax assessor must include recent sales of foreclosed homes, short sales and sales at public auction as well as other sales of comparable properties.

Does the county have to show me the information it used to come up with my assessment?

If a taxpayer asks for documents used in making the assessment, the Board of Tax Assessors must provide it within 10 business days.

Can I email my appeal?

Gwinnett and Fulton counties have electronic appeal processes. In Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, Forsyth, Paulding and other metro counties, you need to either hand-deliver your appeal or send it by U.S. mail and have it postmarked with a date, to show that the appeal was made within the 45-day period allowed after assessments are mailed. Metered mail may not be accepted as proof that you filed the appeal on time.

Can I have an attorney or outside appraiser I hired attend the appeal hearing with me? 

You have the right to an agent or representative at a hearing, though you may be required to provide his or her name in advance of the hearing. You may want to calculate whether the amount you might save in taxes would make hiring a representative worthwhile.

Can I submit an independent appraisal as evidence?

Documentation you can submit includes recent appraisals, photographs, sale prices, repair estimates and comparable property values in your area. A 2015 law now requires the board of assessors to consider independent expert appraisals.

Do I have to pay any fees to fight the assessment?

There’s no cost for an appeal to a board of equalization, unless you hire an agent or lawyer. If you choose to appeal to Superior Court or go to arbitration, you pay an up-front fee, though you get the money back if you prevail.

Does it matter where I file my initial appeal?

A state law entitles taxpayers to a two-year freeze on values after setting a dispute. However, the freeze may apply only if an appeal reaches the board of equalization. If the reduction is made by the boad of assessors, it may be for only the current tax year.

What are keys to winning appeals of your property values? At MyAJC.com you can find tips, help understanding assessment and appeal forms and answers to other questions you might have about the rights of property owners.

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