The Cobb County Tax assessment notices were mailed on Friday, April 20 with an appeal deadline of June 4, 2012. My first phone calls were from commercial property owners that had large increases in assessed values. I was told by the County that the values are based on a new revaluation by the Cobb County tax assessment office. They said that they haven't had a revaluation since 2008 because the Georgia General Assembly placed a three year moratorium on assessment increases.
A commercial appraiser from the Cobb County tax assessment office told me that approximately 3,000 commercial properties received an increase in assessment, 8,000 received a decrease in assessment, and the remainder were unchanged. Some of these assessment increases will end up in court because the Cobb County Board of Equalization (BOE) rendered values on these properties last year, and according to Georgia Code 48-5-299C these values should be frozen for two additional years. However, the code does seem to give the assessors a way to change the values:
(c) Real property, the value of which was established by an appeal in any year, that has not been returned by the taxpayer at a different value during the next two successive years, may not be changed by the board of tax assessors during such two years for the sole purpose of changing the valuation established or decision rendered in an appeal to the board of equalization or superior court. In such cases, before changing such value or decision, the board of assessors shall first conduct an investigation into factors currently affecting the fair market value. The investigation necessary shall include, but not be limited to, a visual on-site inspection of the property to ascertain if there have been any additions, deletions, or improvements to such property or the occurrence of other factors that might affect the current fair market value. If a review to determine if there are any errors in the description and characterization of such property in the files and records of the board of tax assessors discloses any errors, such errors shall not be the sole sufficient basis for increasing the valuation during the two-year period.
The commercial appraiser at the Cobb County tax assessment office told me that all of the commercial properties were "inspected." However, I find this code section vague, and I know that Fulton County tried to change BOE values about ten years ago and the BOE changed the values back to the previous years values. What will the Cobb County BOE do? Only time will tell. Contact us for assistance with your Cobb County Tax Assessment.
Gwinnett County tax assessment notices apparently went out without a hitch this year as I have seen nothing on their website or in the media to indicate otherwise. All of the residential and commercial Gwinnett County tax assessment notices were to be sent on April 6 and based on all of the Gwinnett County tax assessment notices that I have received, that is the date they went out. The deadline to appeal tax assessments in Georgia is now uniformly 45 days after the tax assessment notice date, State-wide. That makes the deadline to appeal Gwinnett County tax assessment notices May 21, 2012.
It appears that the Gwinnett County tax assessors are standing their ground on most of their commercial values. I have received copies of many Gwinnett County tax assessment notices already and all are "no change" in values except for a few vacant parcels with already small values. I guess a reduction from a $3,700 market value estimate to a $2,000 market value estimate isn't anything to sneeze at, in percentage terms, but we aren't talking about a lot of tax dollars either. I haven't seen anything with a value in six digits with a reduction, or an increase for that matter.