Should You Appeal Your DeKalb County Property Tax Assessment?

Posted by Daniel Jones on Apr 20, 2018 12:00:00 AM


According to the Washington Post, a visit to the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue’s website explains that "uniform and accurate assessments are the foundation of fair property taxation."

That's sounds great, but there comes a problem once you start to look at the flood of data that goes into a single property assessment anywhere in the country:

  • Square footage
  • Lot size
  • Number of baths
  • Whether there is a finished basement
  • Garage size
  • Whether there is a pool

How is this data a problem? There is the simple fact that an assessor may not have stepped foot on the property when doing the assessment. In fact, it is quite likely that they never entered the home. The result is that your DeKalb County property tax assessment may not be as accurate as it could be, and that can add up to an overly high share of local real estate taxes coming out of your bank account.

Of course, it could be the total opposite and the home or property you are considering putting on the market was found to be worth less than you had hoped. This can make it far more challenging to get the price you wanted or needed to ask.

The good news is that you can always appeal your DeKalb County property tax using a formal appeals process. Because the amount of the assessment affects taxes for the next years to come, you shouldn't ever hesitate or wait to make an appeal. In fact, you may have only a limited number of days to address the situation, and preserve your right for a more accurate assessment.

Become a Tax Sleuth

Then what? It doesn't matter if your DeKalb County property tax assessment applies to a commercial or a residential property, the next step is going to be doing a bit of sleuthing. This is because you are going to have to begin with a copy of the worksheet used to determine the value of the property. This is the figure that was multiplied by the local tax rate to determine your tax bill.

Does it seem far too high? Even if it is just a bit too high, you shouldn't have to deal with a bloated DeKalb County property tax assessment. Many experts advise that you consider whether the appeal is "worth your time". However, isn't that very subjective? To many people, a reduction of even 10% to 15% is more than worth the time and effort of getting their DeKalb County property tax assessments adjusted.

The next step is that sleuthing, and it means a lot of leg work. First things first, you have to check the data of your property against the worksheet. Is everything right? Did they accidentally increase the size of your lot, the number of baths? Any errors will have an impact on the taxes.

Then, you'd need to find "comps". This means working with realtors to find a minimum of five properties comparable to yours in the area and that have sold within the past few months.

What does that do? It tells you if the amount of value assigned to your home is accurate. The only other way to get this information is to hire an appraiser, costing you hundreds. What should you do if you find that there are several comps, but those homes are somehow better or nicer? You should make note of it as you'll have to include all of that when you submit your case for consideration.

Gather the Data

You may also need to obtain site plans or maps of your property, architectural drawings to show the actual floor plans, surveys and even documentation that might show your home has a lower value based on factors like storm damage, un-remedied structural issues, and so on. This would be submitted as part of the appeal, but it is not a guarantee they'll find you in the right.

After that, it is a lot of paperwork and keeping track of forms, deadlines and so on. Even then, your assessor's office may hold their ground on the evaluation they did of the property. Though many assessors' offices make sincere errors, having their knowledge and expertise questioned may cause some irritation. This may lead to them declining your appeal or holding their original estimates.

As you can see, getting your DeKalb County property tax assessment reevaluated and adjusted can be a serious challenge. It is why you may want to leave it in the hands of experts. After all, arguing about your DeKalb County property tax assessment with the very people who determined it may be like handling legal matters without a lawyer.

You don't have the specialized skills and expertise, the resources or even the time to juggle the many details it requires to get that figure adjusted. And even if you end up with a higher assessment, rather than a lower one, it could be to your advantage, if that was your goal.

Whether you feel that your DeKalb County property tax assessment was too high and causing you to pay a much to costly tax bill, or too low and reducing the potential sale price of the home or commercial property, you can appeal it. The first step is not to request an appeal, but instead, get in touch with experts in tax reduction and real estate valuation in your county. They'll submit the appeal and all of the documentation that proves your case, whether it is to increase or decrease that assessment amount.

Fair Assessments, LLC is your resource for expert property tax appeals with more than 24 years of experience and success for commercial and residential property owners. With a history of real estate valuation and tax reduction experience, they are a great resource for those in the Atlanta metro area as well as commercial property owners in GA and FL. Get in touch today to find out how to begin the process of appealing your DeKalb County property tax assessment.

Topics: DeKalb County property tax appeal, dekalb property

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