There are some government offices that have more of a direct effect on our lives than others. The Cobb County Tax Assessor plays a very big role in the lives of home owners and commercial property owners in Cobb County. This is the reason that property owners in Cobb County should be aware of the role of the Cobb County Tax Assessor and what rights you, as the property owner, have with regards to the Tax Assessor.
What Does the Cobb County Tax Assessor Do?
Some people may think that the Tax Assessor is responsible for charging them taxes and taking their money. That’s not true though. The Cobb County Tax Assessor is responsible for sending an appraiser to your property to assess the value of that property before the property taxes are calculated. The assessor will build a file about your property that is full of all of the details of your home or commercial building and the land it is on. There will be information about any improvements that you’ve done that change the value of the structure. There will also be outside information that is used to come up with a number to put on your property to indicate its value.
How Does the Cobb County Tax Assessor Give My Property a Value?
The Cobb County Tax Assessor has to try to establish what is known as the fair market value for your property. The fair market value is based on what the property could realistically be sold for. That means the amount of money that a buyer and a seller would be able to agree upon without having any kind of convincing pressure to be applied. It’s the value that both parties could easily agree on as the purchase price.
To find the fair market value of a property, the Cobb County Tax Assessor can use three different methods. The first valuation method is based on a sales comparison approach. The assessor looks at what other properties in the area, that are similar to the property that is being assessed, have sold recently and how much they were sold for. The attributes of the properties chosen for comparison have to be very like what is present in the property that is being evaluated, and there have to be a number of comparables to use, not just one or two. Sometimes the assessor will look into sales from one or two years past, but usually only if there haven’t been very many that fit the bill in the current year.
The second method is considered the cost approach. So this method is looking for the answer to the question of, how much would it cost to reproduce this property right now. The Cobb County Tax Assessor looks at the costs of materials and labor to build a new structure. Then the depreciation that has accumulated to that point is calculated and subtracted from the total of the replacement cost. Finally, the value of the land is added to the amount that was calculated with the depreciation accounted for. That will then be the assessed value of the property.
The third method is the income approach. This one is used for properties that are used to generate income. So if you have a rental property, or you lease a commercial space to someone, the income approach can be used to assess the value of your property. There are some different things to consider with this method, obviously. The assessor has to look at how much income you will gross from the use of that property. Then the operating expenses will be evaluated. That will come up with the net income you are making. An appropriate capitalization rate is then applied to the net income value which will result in the value of the property per the income approach.
After the Cobb County Tax Assessor Appraises Your Property
Once your property has been assessed and given a value, then the Tax Commissioner’s Office gets involved. That office is responsible for applying the millage rates and coming up with the amount of property tax you will be billed. The offices work hand-in-hand, but they are not the same thing. The Cobb County Tax Assessor gathers the information needed so that the Tax Commissioner’s Office can apply the appropriate millage rate to the amount of value for your property.
Does the Cobb County Tax Assessor Make Mistakes?
As is true of any government office, this office can make mistakes sometimes too. There are very good guidelines and methodologies that are used by the Cobb County Tax Assessor, but these are applied by people. Human beings are not perfect and we all make mistakes or errors. The process for assessing the value of a property is laid out in a way to try not to have errors come up, but there’s only so much that can be done. To account for possible mistakes or oversights, there is an appeal process for the assessed value of a property.
How Do You File an Appeal with the Cobb County Tax Assessor?
If you feel that your property was given a value that is higher than what it should be, you can appeal it. You’ll have 45 days to get an appeal filed with the Cobb County Tax Assessor, in writing. In the letter of appeal, the property owner needs to specify whether they wish to have the appeal heard by the BOE (Boards of Equalization), a hearing officer or in a non-binding arbitration.
Once the appeal is reviewed in the manner that was chosen, the decision will be communicated to the property owner. The owner can either accept the decision or reject it and push the case further up the line to the Cobb County Superior Court. From there, the case will be presented and heard again, and a decision will be rendered.
If You Want Help with an Appeal to the Cobb County Tax Assessor
You can get help with your appeal from the professionals at Fair Assessments, LLC. Give them a call or shoot over an email, and they’ll get you scheduled for a consultation and review of your case whenever works best for you.