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Shocked By Your Property Tax Increase? Here's How to File An Appeal

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By now, if you live in Georgia, your property’s annual notice of assessment has probably arrived. If you’re like many people, it might have caused a bit of sticker shock. Many people saw a large increase in estimated property taxes this year, due in part, to the record appreciation of the real estate market over the past several years.

So, let’s break the process down a little bit. It is important to note that, I am not a real estate attorney, so this is not intended to be legal advice, only general information on the process and potential options for next steps, should you choose to take them. I can help in a few ways (we’ll get to that later), but legal advice is not one of them.

Under Georgia law, every property is assessed annually at fair market value. The Board of Assessors issues an annual notice of assessment for each property in every county by no later than July 1st of each year. For taxation purposes, the notice states the determination of the property value, as well as the estimated tax based on the assessor’s value. Every taxpayer receives a notice, regardless of whether there was a change in value or tax amount. Don’t understand your notice of assessment? Here’s an explanation of the notice by Fulton County.

If you disagree with the current year's value on your assessment notice, you have the option to file an appeal. You can do this in person, online, or by mail in but it must be done within 45 days of the date of notice. Missing the deadline will prevent you from being able to dispute the value or the tax for the calendar year. You may appeal based on:

  • Taxability – If you believe your property is exempt or not subject to taxation

  • Value – If you believe the current year value listed is higher than what you perceived to be fair market value

  • Uniformity – If you believe your assessed value is higher or lower than other similar properties in your area

  • Denial of Exemption – Were you denied an exemption you believe you should have been granted (for example- a senior or homestead exemption)

If you’re looking for more details about options for your appeal and next steps I’d recommend going straight to the source. Click here for the Department of Revenue directions for Filing a Property Tax Appeal.

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Do you think you have grounds for an appeal? If you are appealing based on value, you’ll need recent sales and/or market stats to back up your claim. Reach out to me and I’m happy to help you find what you need. Want to appeal but don’t want to have to deal with managing the process yourself? You can hire an attorney to manage it for you. Our partners, Campbell and Brannon, have a property tax appeal program that will manage all of the details.

It's worth doing your homework (or having an attorney do it for you) prior to filing an appeal. You may find that due to the rapid appreciation in the real estate market over the past few years, the assessed value is in line with or even below fair market value. In that case, while it’s not pleasant to have an increase in your tax bill, it’s best to skip the appeal so that you don’t risk increasing your assessment. However, don’t let that scare you there are many cases in which people do have a solid ground for appeal. A successful appeal could potentially save you thousands and grant you a three-year freeze on future valuation increases so it’s absolutely worth looking into. Have questions? I’ve linked directly to the Georgia Department of Revenue above. It’s best to go straight to the source for tax-related questions but I’m happy to answer any general or value-related questions you may have.

Disclaimer: I am not a real estate or tax attorney so the above post is intended to be general information on the property tax appeal process and is in no way intended to be utilized as legal advice. For specific legal guidance on your individual situation, it is recommended you consult a tax or real estate attorney.

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My name is Lindsay Walston.

I'm a healthcare provider turned real estate agent with an eye for luxurious details. Let me show you how to create (or find!) a beautiful and functional home, no matter your budget.  Want to learn more?

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