What Does a Cobb County Tax Assessor Do?

You know that you have to pay property taxes for your home and the land that you own each year. However, you may not know exactly what goes into determining how much you have to pay, or what the job of your Cobb County tax assessor really is or what they do.

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Cobb County Tax - What to Expect in 2014

Every year end brings a close to previous plans and ambitions. A new year brings forth new prospects in nearly all affairs. The same approach extends to the taxation field. A new year brings the realization of an overview of the same. Cobb County uses taxes to finance their operations similar to other states and countries. Taxation systems involve different forms and approaches from corporate tax to personal income tax. One form of taxation in all Georgia counties is the property tax. This form of tax has often led to contention based on tax assessment value. Often the revaluation of tax assessments lead to higher levels of taxation.

Property owners and titleholders find it challenging to meet these higher tax burdens. Aggrieved individuals could correct this scenario through a property tax appeal. To understand how property taxes are generated it is proper to look at the system. The process commences when the board of tax assessors, a supposedly independent body, review and establish a fair value for all taxable property in the county. The board of tax assesors is formed and delegated duties through the county commissioners. The beginning of every New Year, January 1, is the property valuation date in Georgia. Property owners fill forms that determine exemption or tax subjection. It is important to note that taxable values conform to the state laws.

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Cobb County GA Property Taxes: Scheduled Site Visits

In accordance with Georgia Law (OCGA 48-5-264.1), the chief appraiser, other members of the county property appraisal staff, and members of the county board of tax assessors may go upon property outside of buildings, posted or otherwise, in order to carry out the duty of updating property records to facilitate the estimating of the fair market values of taxable property in the county.

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Cobb County Tax Assessor

It's springtime in Atlanta! Oh wait, it's in the 60s with thunderstorms and a tornado watch and it's only January 30! Such is life in the capital of the new South. If you don't like the weather just wait a little while. There will be a similar tornado watch this spring as the tax assessors begin to send out tax assessment notices to every real property owner in the state of Georgia.

Last year the Cobb County Tax Assessor created quite a storm when they sent out huge increases on commercial properties. Many of the unsuspecting commercial property owners were dumbfounded at the taxable value increases they saw, considering they were still struggling to keep tenants in their buildings and competing with other struggling property owners for new tenants. Even though some of their values were, honestly, a little low, they couldn't believe that with the same net operating income as the previous year their taxable value could be 50% to 100% higher. 

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Cobb County Tax Assessor Sends 100% Increases

The Cobb County Assessors office uses current mass appraisal standards and recent sales data to determine property values.  As a result of the end of the moratorium on assessment increases this year they decided to send out new assessments. Some of the commercial real property values doubled. In many cases they were changing values that were established by the Board of Equalization (BOE) in 2011. The Cobb County Assessors claim they physically inspected all properties that received an increase in tax assessment which allowed them to change BOE values.

Business assets owned by a company or organization used in the day to day operations of the business are considered taxable personal property. All businesses are required to send a detailed report of all property annually unless the total value of the property is less than $7,500.  Failure to do so can result in a 10% penalty.  Reports are due to the Cobb County Assessors office by April 1 each year. Similarly, real property tax returns are due by April 1 and should report any changes to the property description from the prior year. In Georgia if you do not file a property tax return you have, in effect, returned the same value that the tax assessors had on it the prior year.

Once returns are received, the Cobb County Assessors office will analyze the value to determine if they agree. If the assessors do not agree with the returned value they have to send an appealable assessment notice to the property owner. In the event that the owner disagrees with the value calculated by the Cobb County Assessors office, a formal appeal must be submitted in writing within 45 days of the value notice date.  Generally, it's best to send the appeal documentation via certified mail to ensure proper delivery in a timely manner.  This also ensures you maintain adequate records in the event that the date may be questioned.  At this time, the Cobb County Assessors office does not accept appeals or asset reports electronically.  All paperwork must be delivered by courier, mail, or hand delivered.

Upon receiving the appeal, the Cobb County Assessor office will send an acknowledgement letter to you stating the recommendation to the Board of Tax Assessors.  They will then decide whether to make any changes to the valuation of assets.  In the event that you are not satisfied with any change in valuation, you then have 30 days to file a written appeal to the Board of Equalization.  Once a hearing is set before the board, you will be notified of the hearing date and given the opportunity to present your case during the appeal hearing.  The Cobb County Assessor officer will also have the chance to present evidence there.  If neither side can agree with the Board of Equalization's finding, then the matter can be appealed to the Superior Court for final decision.

The Cobb County Assessors office indicated that after a two year freeze on assessment increases that the State of Georgia imposed on all counties it was time for assessment increases. Especially, they said, because property owners kept appealing during the moratorium, forcing values lower and lower. Of course it is hard to argue that during the moratorium values weren't falling lower and lower. Should you have any additional questions about property taxes contact the Cobb County Assessor's office at 770-528-3100.

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Cobb County Property Tax Assessor

There is just over a week remaining to appeal your commercial Cobb County property tax assessments. The Cobb County property tax assessors took the first opportunity to increase values in several years to heart and jacked up a lot of commercial values. I have filed appeals on commercial values that have increases as high as 115%!

Most commercial property owners will say that we are still in recession, but not the Cobb County property tax assessors. I have clients that are teetering on the edge of insolvency but everything is looking up at 736 Whitlock Avenue! Maybe they haven't noticed that vacancy rates haven't improved. Maybe they haven't heard that tenants can still demand lower rent payments on the legitimate threat of moving to a lower cost building.

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Cobb County Tax Assessment

The Cobb County Tax assessment notices were mailed on Friday, April 20 with an appeal deadline of June 4, 2012. My first phone calls were from commercial property owners that had large increases in assessed values. I was told by the County that the values are based on a new revaluation by the Cobb County tax assessment office. They said that they haven't had a revaluation since 2008 because the Georgia General Assembly placed a three year moratorium on assessment increases.

A commercial appraiser from the Cobb County tax assessment office told me that approximately 3,000 commercial properties received an increase in assessment, 8,000 received a decrease in assessment, and the remainder were unchanged. Some of these assessment increases will end up in court because the Cobb County Board of Equalization (BOE) rendered values on these properties last year, and according to Georgia Code 48-5-299C these values should be frozen for two additional years. However, the code does seem to give the assessors a way to change the values:

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property tax appeals

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