Property Tax Appeal Videos

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Free Georgia Tax Appeal Guide

We want to help you answer the following four questions:

  What are the Approaches to Value That the Assessors Use?
  How Can I Fight the Approaches Being Used?
  How Do I Prepare for My Appeal?
  What Can I Expect From My Appeal?

We have taken our experience of working with hundreds of clients, plus consulting with others and boiled it down into 7 pages and over 3000 words of shear consumer empowerment.

In this buyers guide you learn about:

  Fair Market Value
  The Sales Comparison Approach to Value
  The Cost Approach to Value
  The Income Approach to Value
  How to Use the Approaches to Value to Your Advantage
  Why Equity is Important
  Researching for Your Property Tax Appeal
  Negotiating a Settlement
  Plus much, much more!

Click the Free Georgia Tax Appeal Guide and get yours today!

Georgia Property Tax Appeals – Foreclosure Filings

Now that attorneys general in all 50 states have come to agreement with the major banks on how foreclosures must be handled, the banks now have a clear road map on how to speed up processing and put many new homeowners into the foreclosure process. Foreclosure cases can now move forward after sitting in limbo while delinquent homeowners sat in the properties. Foreclosures dropped in January, but 21 states posted increased foreclosure filings in February. This is the beginning of an increase in foreclosure filings that will peak over the coming months.

Nevada currently has the highest rate of foreclosure filings with one of every 278 households receiving a foreclosure filing. Second on the list is California with one of every 283 households receiving a foreclosure filing. Arizona is third with one in every 312 households receiving. Georgia comes in fourth with one in every 331 households receiving a foreclosure filing.

Repossessions, which is the final stage of foreclosure, were down 4% from January, nationally. However, repossessions were up 76% in Georgia. As the banks work through their backlog of delinquent mortgages the number of distressed properties coming onto the market in Georgia should increase this year. As a result I do not think that this will be the year for price recovery to begin, at least in the Atlanta Metro area.

If you need help with your 2012 Georgia property tax appeals contact your Atlanta-based property tax consultants at Fair Assessments LLC.

What Is a Board of Equalization Hearing like?

In most Metro Atlanta counties the boards are composed of three County taxpayers. At your scheduled time you will be brought into the hearing room, it should be just you, the County appraiser, and the three board members. Generally there will not be others in the hearing although in Georgia this is considered a public hearing.

The chair of the board will go over the policy and procedure regarding the hearing. Then they typically will ask the appellant if they prefer to go first or if they would like to defer to the County. Either way both the appellant and the County appraiser have an opportunity to present their case. When each has finished presenting their cases there is an opportunity for rebuttal. I prefer to let the County go first so I can frame my arguments around what they say.

After the appellant and the County appraiser have said all that they want to say the board then deliberates. They will do this right in front of you and you are not allowed to speak while they are deliberating. Usually there is one dominant member of the board, often the chair, that will voice their opinion first and then the other two board members will just follow along.

They will inform you either at the beginning or the end that their decision will be mailed to you within 10 days. Because they deliberated and made a decision in front of you you don't have to wait for the hard copy decision before you decide whether to further the appeal to Superior Court. You have 30 days to appeal to Superior Court from the date of the BOE decision letter.

Should I Appeal My Assessment to the Board of Equalization?

In my mind there is no reason to not appeal the value to the board of equalization if you are unhappy with it. In Georgia there is no cost to appeal your value to the board of equalization. You have to remember that the board consists of fellow taxpayers like yourself so there shouldn't be anything to worry about.

However, you may be at somewhat of a disadvantage at the board of equalization (BOE) due to the fact that they work with the same County appraisers on a regular basis, and you are a stranger. If you don't have a very good case that outweighs the case that the assessors have you may not get a reduction. It just depends on the luck of the draw, which board you get.

The board members are not typically real estate professionals. They have spent their lives in other lines of work and had a week of training to learn what the assessors do and what the law is regarding property tax and real estate assessment. It's good to talk in easy-to-understand terminology and not be too aggressive. These people are just trying to do the job that they were selected to do.

If your case for a property tax reduction is weak it may be a waste of time to go to the BOE. If you feel that you have a strong case then by all means go and have your say. Often, if you have a good case and the County has a good case the BOE will split the difference. You will get a reduction in your taxable value, but it won't be as great a reduction as you had hoped for. There is always next year, depending on the state you live in.

Contact Fair Assessments LLC for further information on Georgia commercial property tax appeals and Metro Atlanta residential property tax appeals.

What Is the Board of Equalization?

The Board of Equalization is composed of county tax payers just like yourself. They are appointed by a grand jury, and must be considered qualified and competent to serve as a grand juror, must be the owner of real property, and must be a high school graduate. No employee of the county, a county school board, or the Board of Assessors, is considered competent to serve as a member of the Board of Equalization.

Each member of the Board of Equalization must satisfactorily complete 40 hours of instruction in appraisal and equalization processes and procedures. In Georgia, this training is done by the State Department of Revenue. In addition, each Board of Equalization member must complete eight hours of continuing education annually. The Board of Equalization is overseen and supervised by the clerk of the Superior Court. Each board member is appointed for a term of three calendar years.

The county Board of Equalization hears appeals from assessments and denials of homestead exemptions. If the board determines that uniformity is not present, the board may order the county Board of Tax Assessors to take such action as is necessary to obtain uniformity, except that, when the question of county wide uniformity is considered by the board, the board may recommend a partial or total countywide revaluation only upon a determination by a majority of all the members of the board that the clear and convincing weight of the evidence requires such action.

Generally speaking the Board of Equalization members are not pulled from their jobs and their families to serve. Most of the board members are retired or have flexible schedules. Most do not have any prior real estate experience. Many would rather not have to make a decision on your appeal. They would rather that you work out a value with the County appraiser prior to the hearing.

Depending on the county, the Board of Equalization works many appeals over many months. As a result they tend to see the county appraisers on a regular basis. They sometimes get friendly with the county appraisers. This is just a fact of life, people are people and they like to talk. So in a sense you're at a disadvantage when you walk into the hearing. You are a stranger among friends.

If you would like assistance with your Georgia property tax appeals please contact Fair Assessments LLC, your Atlanta-based property tax consultants.

What Happens If the Assessors Do Lower My Assessment?

Just as if the assessors had not lowered your value, you should have the right to further your appeal even if they have given you a decrease. If you are certain that your value is 30% too high but they only offer you a 5% decrease, then by all means utilize the second level of appeal that is available. If you are happy with the decrease they have given you then generally speaking you don't have to do anything further. If taxes have already been paid then you may be due a refund. If taxes have not been paid yet the tax may be adjusted downward before bills are issued.

From experience I know that the tax assessors are often using a different computer system than the tax commissioners. So there is a bit of a time lag between your reduction in tax assessment and the time that the tax Commissioner's office gets the information and goes about adjusting their bills. This time lag can be compounded by the fact that there is typically an appeal period after each level of appeal except for the last one. For example, in Georgia, after the assessors offer you a reduction you have 30 days to appeal the new value to the Board of Equalization. If you are happy with the reduction and you choose not to appeal, the assessors still have to wait for the 30 days to elapse. This adds to the amount of time it takes for the change to filter through to your tax bill.

Congratulations! Hopefully you saved some money! Of course, there is more than one moving part to the property tax equation. If the tax rate didn't change then you definitely saved some money, and if the tax rate increased, it depends on the percentage increase versus the percentage decrease in your property tax assessment. If you didn't save enough money there is always next year!

For all of your property tax appeal assistance contact Fair Assessments LLC. We specialize in commercial property tax appeals in the Southeast and residential property tax appeals in the Atlanta Georgia metropolitan area.
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