No one likes their property tax bill. However, if you actually feel that your Gwinnett County property tax assessment is incorrect, there is something that you can do. Most people don’t pay a lot of attention to these bills, and even less to their assessments when they arrive. If you take a few minutes to look at your assessment or tax bill, whether you own a residential or commercial property, it should be easy to determine if there might be something wrong. Everyone makes mistakes and the tax assessment process isn’t perfect, so it’s up to the property owner to follow up.
Inaccuracies and Omitted Information
The most common reason that people notice their tax bill is incorrect is due to missing or incorrect information. There are a lot of factors that go into figuring out the value of your property and so much as a single keyboarding error can make a big difference in your tax bill. Of course, there can be larger issues, like changes in the real estate market or a misrepresentation of the land and its value.
It might even be that your home has two bedrooms when it is recorded as having three or four bedrooms. Maybe instead of the 1,500 square feet that you have, the county record shows 1,800 square feet. Because assessments are based on existing data, there are an endless number of things that could go wrong.
The Appeal Process
You should attempt to catch any potential issues when you receive your Gwinnett County property tax assessment, which usually comes a few months before the bill. This will be the paper that you usually throw out because it clearly states that it is not a bill. If you miss this, at least look at your tax bill to make sure that everything looks accurate. Don’t just assume that you should pay what the bill says, and especially not if it’s higher or lower than last year with no real explanation.
Make sure that you contact the tax office and find out what resources they were using for information during the assessment. Figure out what inferences were made, what data was used, and what information might have been missing or misconstrued along the way. You might find an easy solution in incorrect data provided to the assessor. It also might be something more complicated, but as long as you notice the difference in the bill, you need to speak up.
What if Everything was Done Correctly?
If you find out that they have used accurate information to assess your property, you don’t have to give up. That might not guarantee that your tax bill is accurate. There are other reasons they could be wrong and you can work on collecting evidence while awaiting your hearing.
Let’s say, for example, that you don’t really notice any changes and the information seems correct, but the dollar amount or percentage of your property tax has increased. That’s okay, too. You can still speak up and file an appeal because you can get help investigating the situation and often find the mistake if you dig a little deeper.
As a part of your appeal, you will need evidence to support your case. You can use the property record, maps, surveys, appraisals, comparables (comps), photos, and other resources to prove your case. You can even provide blueprints and contractor reports to ensure that the structure is listed correctly. You won’t need to get every single item on this list, but you can guarantee that your outcome will be better with more evidence than less.
The more facts you can gather, the more likely it is that you will win your approval and have your taxes adjusted accordingly. Look at all the different areas of your home that affect its value and make sure they aren’t the cause of the problem. Try to at least get the property record and the parcel map, if nothing else. Also, remember that you can get help from professional assessment companies or attorneys along the way, or for the entire appeals process.
Too Little or Too Much?
No one complains when things are cheaper. However, when it comes to your property tax bill, you need to speak up. Especially in the case of misinformation that could increase what you pay, you might be held liable for penalties if you pay less than you should for your Gwinnett County property tax.
If your bill seems high, you’re obviously going to speak up. However, you have also to remember to speak up if it seems to low. Even if it means paying a little more now, you won’t have to pay fines later. Plus, when you complete and succeed in your appeal, you will be granted a cap on your property tax for up to three years.
Ask for Help
The tax office shouldn’t be impossible to work with. They understand that the system isn’t perfect and they welcome people to provide more accurate information through the appeals process. Believe it or not, this process helps them too, because then they have more accurate information for future assessments. Feel free to ask them any questions you have about your property taxes.
If you’re struggling to go it alone or just don’t have the time or energy, you can let someone else do the hard work. Contact the Fair Assessments, LLC team to find out how we can help you get the best outcome in your appeals process. We understand how confusing property taxes can be and how the tax office handles appeals. We can also help you learn about tax assessments and your property’s value so that you understand this part of being a property owner.
Move forward with your appeal as soon as you notice an issue. There is rarely the opportunity to go back and retrieve overpayments from previous years, so you want to resolve the issue as soon as possible. For assistance, or to learn more about property tax assessments, call Fair Assessments, LLC today.