The GA Tax Assessors are managed under the Department of Revenue. There is an Assessors’ Office for each county in Georgia to serve the needs of the people in that area. There are 159 counties throughout the State of Georgia, and each one has an office for the assessment of property. For our purposes, we’re talking about real property, so your homes and businesses.
What Is the Role of a Tax Assessor?
In general, the role of a tax assessor is to put a value on property that is as close to the real value as you can get. Assessors have strict guidelines to follow that help them to come to a fair assessment for the property being inspected. They will analyze all of the data about a specific property, research sales in the area of similar properties, look at any income made from the use of a property and then calculate a value based on everything they’ve found.
All of the information is entered into a file for that property and then sent from the GA Tax Assessors office to the Tax Commissioners Office. The Tax Commissioners will then calculate the amount of property tax you owe based on the information from the assessor.
Will You Ever Interact with the GA Tax Assessors?
There will be times when you’ll probably interact with the assessors. If there is a need to assess your property, they will contact you to try to schedule an appointment time so they can come out to the property to do the physical appraisal of the property you own.
After you receive your assessment notice in the mail from the GA Tax Assessors, you might find that you need to submit an appeal to try to get your property value changed because you don’t agree with what the assessor came up with. In that case, you’ll possibly interact with the assessor at a hearing where you’ll both present your evidence that supports the values you both came up with.
How Do the GA Tax Assessors Give a Value to My Property?
The assessor who is assigned to give your property a value has to look at a lot of factors before coming up with a number. The characteristics of the property are taken into consideration, as is the location of the property. Depreciation can considered when it’s appropriate and so is land value. There are three methods that are used by assessors, which are fairly common.
1. Cost Approach – This approach consists of looking at how much it would cost to reproduce the property at that current time. This approach does account for any depreciation that has accumulated for the structure. If the building is not new, then there will be some accumulated depreciation. The value that is calculated for the structure minus the depreciation amount is then added to the value of the land to get that the overall value for the property.
- Market Approach – Assessing with the market approach requires that the GA Tax Assessors look at the properties that have sold recently in the same area as your property that are similar to yours. The market approach is used more with residential properties than with commercial properties. The sales that are looked at had to have been ones where both seller and buyer agreed to the final price without any convincing involved. The market approach bases the value of your property off of what you would be able to get for it should you put it up for sale.
- Income Approach – This method is used to put a value on rental properties. If the property that’s being assessed could be rented out or leased for any reason then the income approach can be used. The assessor will look at how much it costs to maintain the property by considering terms of finance, any operating expenses, costs of maintenance and insurance expenses. He will also assess how much income the owner expects to make off the rental of the property. Once all of those things have been calculated, the GA Tax Assessors will generate a value for the property.
View our Fair Assessments Guide: "How Tax Assessors Use the Income Approach to Value Your Property"
What Do You Do If You Don’t Agree with the Assessed Value of Your Property?
It’s expected by the GA Tax Assessors that you won’t always agree with the assessed valuation amount that their office comes up with for your property. That’s why there is an appeals process already built into their system of operations. If you think that the value of your property was assessed too high, then you have the right to file an appeal with the GA Tax Assessors office for the County that your property is located in. You’ll want to contact the assessors office or look on their website to see what you need to do to get your appeal submitted.
Make sure that you work quickly to get your appeal filed though. You only have a limited amount of time to get your appeal submitted after you receive your property assessment notice in the mail. It’s usually 45 days, but it can vary from county to county. If you don’t submit your appeal within the appeals period, you will have to wait until the next year to do it.
Do You Need Help to File an Appeal?
You can file the appeal on your own. It’s recommended that you don’t do that though. There are a lot of laws regulating the GA Tax Assessors that are set by the State of Georgia. If you aren’t familiar with the property valuation and tax laws, it can be a bit tricky navigating your way through the process.
The appeals process will take you through some tedious gathering of evidence, and you’ll want to make sure that you have everything on the application completely filled in correctly with all supporting documentation to accompany your appeal form. It’s easier to get this right the first time when you have experts to guide you.
Fair Assessments, LLC has been helping people in Georgia with property assessment valuation appeals for a long time. They have a lot of experience that they can put to good use for you that will help you get a positive result from your appeal. Call or email to set up a consultation to go over your case today.