Tips for Getting a Property Tax Reduction

Your property taxes are assessed every year, based on such elements as your property’s market value, your neighborhood, schools and parks near you, and your curb appeal. In a perfect world, you’d have a beautiful home with a very high property value, great curb appeal, and a safe and welcoming neighborhood, and you’d have low property taxes, too.

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Know Your Georgia Property Tax Laws

If you live in Georgia, and you own property, you’re going to be paying Georgia property tax. You’re probably also going to have some questions about how these taxes work, when they’re due, if you can appeal yours, and when you might be exempt or able to get a deferment.

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Georgia Property Tax Appeals: New Georgia Property Tax Law

As of July 1, 2013, any appeal related adjustments to value are subject to these new provisions. The taxpayer may be charged interest on tax amounts due when the taxpayer owes the county money after the property tax appeal is resolved. Likewise, the tax commissioner may owe interest on refunds owed the taxpayer after the property tax appeal is resolved.  

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Georgia Property Tax Appeals: Filing Procedures

After receiving your Notice of Assessment, a taxpayer/property owner may file a  written appeal within 45 days (depending on your county) of Notice Date. Click here to obtain a copy of the appeal form.

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Property Tax Appeals - Using the Income Approach

The Income Approach uses capitalization to convert the anticipated benefits of the ownership of property into an estimate of present value.

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Property Tax Appeals - Using the Cost Approach

The cost approach to value is the most widely used approach by tax assessors in the mass appraisal process. It is defined as: 

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Dekalb County Tax Assessment Hearings Have Started

The first round of Dekalb County Tax assessment hearing dates for the Board of Equalization has been sent out to property owners who are appealing the assessed values set on their properties. If you have received your hearing date, or have made your appeal and are awaiting your hearing date then it is time to ensure that you are prepared for the process and have made a strong case against the value that has been placed on your property.

Know the Process

Before your Dekalb County tax assessment hearing, it is a good to familiarize yourself with the process that is undertaken to determine the taxable value of your property. The process takes place under the Georgia Revenue Code whereby a property is appraised at 100% of its fair market value. The property is then assessed for tax at 40% of that value; if the appraised value of the property is too high then the tax assessment is too high as well.

You can file an appeal against your Dekalb County tax assessment once the Annual assessment notices have been mailed in the later part of May, and you have 45 days to appeal. It is important to note that while the appeal is being considered the property is no longer billed under that year’s appraised value. It is instead billed at a temporary value that is the greater of either the tax payers Property Tax Return Value or 85% of the original Notice value. Once the appeal is completed the temporary value will be dismissed, and the property owner will be issued either a refund or a new bill; the appropriate interest will also be added.

Be Prepared

Before you can have a date for a Dekalb County tax assessment hearing, you need to complete some research, and either file an appeal form, or write a letter stating you believe the Dekalb County Tax assessment is wrong This is done in the 45 day period after assessment notices are issued. You will need to present these facts at the hearing so it is worthwhile checking the details and ensuring that they are correct. You can get assistance with understanding the assessment process, and gathering the appropriate data for making your case.

What to Expect at the Hearing

Taking your Dekalb County tax assessment to the Board of Equalization does not involve paying any fees. The board consists of three members, each of which are county property owners who have undergone at least 40-hour training in property tax law and appraisal. At the hearing, the board will review your letter of appeal and listen to your presentation. It is important to keep your presentation factual and to the point; the board will only consider elements that may have affected the valuation of your property. It is equally important to stay calm, and focused through the appeal hearing; you will gain nothing by losing your temper. The board will also listen to the case made by the county appraiser before making a decision; you are informed of the decision at the hearing if you request it, and always in writing via the mail.

Where do you go from here

If the Board of Equalization rules against you and in agreement with the Dekalb County tax assessment, it is not necessarily the end of the process. You have 30 days from receiving their decision to appeal to the Superior Court; be advised that if the board rules for you then the County appraiser can also appeal to the Superior Court within 30 days. After this phase, fees start to apply. Although you have this option at your disposal, and you still have a chance of overturning the ruling, you should think carefully before taking the process on to this level. A property tax service can help you make this decision.

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Georgia Property Tax Appeals Explained by a Professional

Last year more people reported having difficulties in securing successful Georgia property tax appeals and assessments for their Georgia property taxes. According to a recent report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (3/31/2012) many are unsuccessful in appealing due to a simple lack of preparation. As the saying goes, people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan.

Those well prepared and educated about the Georgia property tax appeals process are much more likely to succeed, which saves money. One of the biggest mistakes people make has to do with failing to present the appropriate comparable sales for their area. Going into the assessor's office or the Board of Equalization and claiming that your value can't be higher this year because values have been falling throughout the metropolitan area isn't good enough. Proper preparation is key. If you know a realtor, they may be willing to help you determine what the best comparables are, and what are not.

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Gwinnett County Property Tax Challenge

Challenging Property Taxes 

Most people understand that their property taxes are based off the value of the homes or businesses they own. This valuation is reviewed yearly and property taxes are adjusted up (or down) accordingly. At least, this is how the system is supposed to work. In reality, valuations can vary widely and often times the assessor’s office is simply too overwhelmed to be able to do more than a cursory evaluation of the property’s value, leaving the property owner to wonder if they are being taxed fairly.

In the current market, it’s especially important to review your property tax assessment and, if needed file an appeal. Although the appeals process is fairly straightforward, having professional assistance in the process can mean the difference between a successful appeal (lower taxes!) or a great deal of wasted effort.

Municipalities do not like losing money and (again, thanks to the depressed real estate market) are being sticklers when it comes the appeals process.

Hiring a Professional

A professional appeals agent understands the appeals process, knows the market conditions and most importantly, knows where the little “gotchas” are when it comes to the red tape. Simply going in and appearing before the appeals officer and saying “I think my taxes should be lower,” simply will not cut it.

There are two different ways an appeals agent can help; coaching you through the process (you still plead your case yourself) or having the agent stand in on your behalf. Either way can help better your chances of winning your property tax appeal.


A professional appeals agent can work with you on how to correctly come up with a property valuation based on comparable sales, walk you through the entire appeals procedure and coach you on how best to present your case. The agent can run through the various questions you are likely to be asked and help you best phrase your responses. This is usually a less expensive option.

Agent Representative

Going this route relieves you of all the work…from filing the paperwork, to collecting the required information to the appeal itself. This is a more expensive option, but it relieves you of the associated hassle as well.

How Much Lower Will My Taxes Go?

Of course, you are interested in saving money, but the fact is no one will be able to guarantee you an actual amount saved (if they do, they are scam artists…run!). The fact is you may not save a dime. The appeals officer may look at the information presented and determine your valuation is correct (or in some instances…not high enough and actually raise it!). However, hiring a professional and having a clear picture of your situation will go a long way to achieving your desired outcome. 

Is It Worth The Effort?

No one likes taxes. This is not about avoiding social responsibility. However, you have the right as a citizen to be taxed appropriately. Many property owners know they are being overtaxed, yet do nothing about it thinking it’s too difficult of a process. The fact is, appealing your property valuation can save you money and at the same time, help promote fairness in government.

Is There a Guarantee?

The short answer is no. However, with the proper information and planning many cases are ruled in favor of the property owner, resulting in significant tax savings.

How Do I Get Started?

The best thing to do is call a property tax agent and talk with them. They can usually give you an idea if your case if worth pursuing or not after collecting some very basic information. They are very likely to have a working relationship with the Gwinnett County tax assessor.

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Property Tax Appeals

Property Tax Appeals 404-644-1667 Property tax appeals service focused on commercial real estate tax appeals. Property tax is a major commercial real estate expense and property tax reduction should be a top priority. We have been saving commercial property owners money for eight years. Contact us for your Fair Assessment.
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