Every year, people get a tax assessment in the mail that tells them what their property taxes are going to be for the current year. Most people glance over these and toss them to the side. Some even ignore them entirely and just pay the bill as usual. Very few property owners actually pay attention to the details of their tax assessment or double-check to make sure that there aren’t any discrepancies or mistakes.
Pay Attention to Your Assessment
If you do take a minute to review your tax assessment and realize that something is wrong, don’t worry. You don’t have to just pay the bill and deal with what you’re given. As taxpayers in the state of Georgia, property owners are entitled to file an appeal of their assessment without any threat of recourse or retaliation. The process is relatively simple, but there are certainly some things to keep in mind.
Your Fulton County tax assessor or tax office will be able to provide you with the information that you need to file your appeal, including a step-by-step guide to the filing and hearing process. Therefore, it shouldn’t be difficult to get things moving along. Here are some tips if you are going to work with the tax office in the appeals process.
Know What You’re Trying to Accomplish
It’s easy enough to notice some type of mistake on your property tax assessment. To actually figure out what it is and do something about it can prove to be a bit more difficult. Still, you should take the time to get to the bottom of what’s wrong with your taxes ahead of time so that you are confident in your appeal.
Taxes are complicated and your tax assessment could be difficult to figure out. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an accountant to find the errors or reasons for changes in your property tax amount. If you take a little time to look at things like the year-to-year change or double-check all of your property information, you will be able to get much further in the appeals process with fewer hurdles because you have a clear idea of your goal. You’ll also look better prepared and more aware at your appeal hearing, which can work in your favor.
Find as Much Information as Possible
Now that you have a plan, or at least an idea of what you want to get out of the appeal, you need to start doing your research. If you have figured out what is wrong with your tax assessment, or which things may be able to change your tax amount, you should begin the next step of looking into the available information and getting the right information to present at your hearing. If, for example, you can pull better local comps that have more recent or more accurate sales data, it could help you prove that your originally over-appraised home is actually not worth as much so that your tax amount will be lower.
Look at your property card or online property record. Make sure that the information on the tax assessment and in the property record is the same, and that it is accurate. Look at the square footage, the lot size, the number of rooms, and other major factors that will affect the value of your home.
If you find anything that is incorrect or missing, make a note because you’ll need to provide this information to the tax assessor so that your records can be updated and an accurate assessment can be performed.
Get to Know the Appeals Process
The appeals process involves filling out a form requesting an appeal and then waiting on the review and a hearing for a final decision. You will need to check with your Fulton County tax assessor regarding deadlines or timelines for appeals, as well as what to expect and how long the wait will be for a ruling on your appeal.
Make sure that you are following the guidelines of the county in doing your research and trying to get the information to support your case. Most states start with a review, which is done via writing and usually takes a few months, at the least. The actual appeals process is the second step in trying to lower or correct your property taxes.
Most states have a 30-45 day window for filing appeals once the tax assessments have been issued. Therefore, if you wait too long or if you need to get the appeal done more quickly, you may be out of luck.
Hire Someone to Help You
Although the county has it set up fairly simply for property owners, filing an appeal can still be a lot of potential work for those involved. Not only that, but most people don’t have the expertise in areas like property taxes and real estate. If you think that you have reason enough to file an appeal, you should contact a professional valuation expert who can look at your assessment and help you determine the best course of action. A professional will be able to obtain all of the information and resources that you need to move forward and prove your case with the appeals process. They also have access to real estate sales information and other resources that can help them point out exactly where the problems are in your assessment.
Most tax evaluation and assessment appeals professionals don’t have high fees, and they are far more concerned with helping you than the local tax office. Your Fulton County tax assessor has a lot of properties and duties to deal with. They are not discriminating against claims or giving you a hard time because you want an appeal. They are just busy. Therefore, it can be in everyone’s best interest to hire a third-party to help you get through the appeals process.
At Fair-Assessments.com, our team has decades of experience in tax assessments and appeals, and we know how to make sure that your property information and tax valuation are correct. Mistakes happen and property valuation methods aren’t perfect, so mistakes can happen. If you think your assessment needs a second look, give us a call today.