From the mandatory settlement conference to the Fulton county property tax appeal hearing, be it in the Board of Equalization or Superior Court, you and the Fulton County tax assessors will square off, so to speak, with your respective evidence. You have to be prepared with the right quantity and quality to increase your chances at a winning appeal.
Oral and Written
Both parties, you and the tax assessors, in the appeal can present several types of admissible evidence before the appeals body. First, you can include oral testimony. You have the right to record an interview with the Board of Tax Assessors prior to the hearing under the enhanced taxpayers’ rights by virtue of House Bill 202. You can include the testimony of the Fulton County tax assessors as well as the official testimony of your agent or lawyer, of an expert witness (e.g., reputable real estate agent), and yourself as part of your body of evidence.
Second, you can also submit written evidence, such as a formal appraisal, a realtor’s opinion, and an engineering study, to the appeals body. But keep in mind that the persons who prepared the document may be required by the appeals board to be present during the hearing. This is because said person may be required to answer the questions posed by the county assessors and the appeal board members about the information presented on the written material.
Evidence Presented at Hearing Only
The appeals board will only consider the evidence that both parties – again, you and the county assessor – presented at the hearing. The appeals body, which may be the Board of Equalization, a Hearing Officer, or the Superior Court, may not consider or accept any information including oral testimony and written material that you have previously submitted to the Fulton County tax assessors or that the latter has submitted to your end before filing the appeal.
This is also true for any and all information attached to your appeals application until and unless you also present it during the appeals hearing. You will largely benefit from the fact that the outcome of the Fulton county property tax appeal hearing will be determined exclusively by the evidence presented during this time.
Burden of Proof
While you should be prepared to present valid evidence to prove that your proposed value is the correct value, you have to know that the burden of proof lies with the Fulton County tax assessors in establishing that their opinion is the correct one. You can relatively rest easy in the knowledge that the burden of proof lies not with you but with the other party.
But don’t rest too easy as the burden of proof applies to specific circumstances including (1) Appeals of single-family dwelling occupied by the owners as primary residence (i.e., appeals for a secondary home means that the owner has the burden of proof); (2) Non-enrollment of purchase prices under specific conditions; (3) Escape assessments; and (4) Penalty assessments.
Regardless of who has the burden of proof, you should have a tax advisor on hand, such as Fair Assessments, LLC to assist you with your Fulton county property tax appeal.