The county tax office is often a foreboding place for a lot of people. However, most of them are here to help property owners and those who are trying to figure out their tax liability or how they can request a correction of information. If you are struggling to understand your property tax assessment or you have issues with the information that was used, you can usually call or email them and get things resolved fairly quickly.
While they’re helping you, they can also teach you about the details on your property tax assessment. Make some notes before you call or email and think about the questions that you have or any errors or issues you have found. If you’re looking over your assessment and you aren’t even sure where to start, that’s okay too. Keep reading to learn all about tax bills and assessments, and what you’re actually paying for.
Where Your Taxes Go
Usually, property taxes are given to local governments, schools, parks and recreation departments, transportation, emergency services, and other municipal expenses. These taxes are the primary source of revenue for most governments, so it’s important that they are paid. However, if they are improperly charged, some people could be paying more (or less) than they should.
How a Cobb County Tax Assessor Determines Value
Assessments are typically done once a year, although there may be some cases where they are done every other year. There are a few locations around the country that only perform assessments when there is a sale or transfer of ownership, but this is really rare and not the case in Georgia. Your Cobb County tax assessor is going to value your property using computer-assisted mass appraisal systems. Therefore, a lot of the process is digitized.
Usually, properties will be assessed based on the market approach. This approach takes a look at recent sales in the area of comparable homes to determine what a property is worth. This is really similar to property appraisal for real estate, so it’s usually fairly simple for most people to understand if they’ve purchased a home. It’s also an easy way to keep things on par throughout the market and streamline things with so many properties that have to be assessed each year.
Once the Cobb County tax assessor determines the market value of your property, they will determine what the assessed value is. In Georgia, the assessed value is currently 40% of the market value. The assessed value of your home is the one that is used to calculate property taxes.
This amount will be multiplied by the current tax rate to determine exactly how much your property taxes will be. On your assessment, they may be listed by year or half-year. There will be a column for year-to-year changes, which is important to pay attention to, as well. This column can show you what’s changed and exactly where any extra tax dollars are going.
Property Taxes are an Obligation
Some people feel that if they don’t agree with their taxes, they may be able to put off paying them. Unfortunately, taxes are not one area where you can afford to mess around. Even if your property taxes are included in your mortgage and you pay off your home, you still have to continue paying property taxes each year. The best way to keep a handle on them is to keep an eye on your assessments and make sure that you are paying what you should.
If you fail to pay your taxes, penalties and interest will be charged to the tax bills. If you let them go long enough, you can lose your property as a result of a bank foreclosure. If you are having any types of issues with your property taxes or you think you are being overcharged, you need to talk to someone or ask for an appeal on your most recent tax assessment.
What’s an Appeal?
Every taxpayer has the right to appeal their tax assessment if they feel that something isn’t right. An appeal is simply a review of your tax assessment, which can include additional information or supporting documents that you provide. This process takes some time and often results in a hearing with a judge that will rule on whether or not your tax bills are valid. The taxes for the current year will be adjusted if they rule in your favor and your value will be capped for three years.
Even if you aren’t certain that you have a solid case, it never hurts to at least consider an appeal. The process is simple and if you aren’t comfortable doing it on your own, you can hire someone to help. You can even get a consultation from a valuation expert to determine whether you have a case worth appealing or not. That way, you don’t waste any time or resources on an appeal that won’t get the results that you want.
Who Can Help with Tax Appeals?
There are a number of professionals that you might think to call if you are having tax issues or property issues. Unfortunately, property taxes are an issue involving both aspects, so you need to find someone who is well-versed in all areas. There are property valuation experts that understand all about tax laws and valuations for the sake of property tax determination.
This is going to be your best resource for getting the assistance that you need and the outcome that you deserve. A valuation expert understands local tax guidelines and real estate, and they have spent years helping people get their taxes back where they belong. Therefore, they have all of the skills and experience that you need to get a better outcome in many cases.
Keep in mind that while appeals can be done on your own, there is no guarantee as to the outcome of your case. Working with someone doesn’t guarantee success, either, but it at least increases your odds. If you want to discuss whether you have a case worth appealing, contact Fair-Assessments.com today. We know all about property taxes and can help you with your Cobb County tax assessor.