Gwinnett County Property Tax 2013

Given that it is January 2013 it is time to start talking about Gwinnett County property tax in 2013. As you may be aware the effective date of appraisal in Georgia for property tax purposes is January 1 of every year. Currently, the tax assessors personnel are verifying sales that took place during calendar year 2012 that they will use to change values for tax year 2013. According to the Case-Shiller home price index for Atlanta Georgia home prices have risen approximately 10.5% since February 2012. However, this is an average and not all market areas have risen.

For example, based on data from, values in the Brookwood elementary school district in Snellville, Georgia declined 32% from the market peak to trough, and values have declined 11% in 2012 as compared to 2011. Overall values in this market area are considered weak. In Riverside elementary school district in Suwanee Georgia values also declined 32% from peak to trough and were down 5.3% in 2012 as compared to 2011. Values here are also considered weak. In the Gwin Oaks elementary school district in Lawrenceville, Georgia values declined 44% from peak to trough but values were up in 2012, approximately 14% over 2011. In Freeman's Mill elementary school district also in Lawrenceville, Georgia values declined 38% from peak to trough and recently values have been stable.

Read More

Property Tax Appeals - Using Equity

Equity is not an approach to value, yet for assessment purposes it can be as important as one. Equity is all about fairness. Specifically that your property tax burden is fair when compared to your neighbor, or your competition. Most states that I have worked in require that tax jurisdictions must assess based on equity, or “uniformity.” This is to ensure that the tax burden is distributed fairly. The exceptions that I am aware of are Florida and Ohio. (Full disclosure: I have worked property tax appeals in ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI, NY, PA, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV, OH, NC, SC, GA, AL, FL)

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.
Read More

Fulton Commercial Real Estate Owners Reel From Assessments

Taxes are an inevitable part of life, an unpleasant one maybe but essential to the running of the country. In most cases, you receive the bill, grumble about it and then see that it gets paid; just occasionally though you receive a tax bill that doesn’t seem right. What can you do when the tax bill you receive for your commercial property doesn’t seem fair? By following a few simple steps and putting all your evidence together, you can appeal against the amount you are being charged and try to get the bill lowered.

Facts That Determine Assessment

Property taxes in Fulton start with the Fulton tax assessors whose responsibility it is to work out the value of a property before applying 40% to that amount to reach the assessed value of the property on which the tax is based. To get some understanding of whether your tax bill is fair you will need to compare it with those sent to owners of similar properties and, if possible, get help from someone, such as a realtor, who has a good understanding of property values in your area.

However, commercial property taxes are not based purely on the value of the building and to create a case against the assessment of the Fulton tax assessors you will also need to know your expense ratio, net operating income, and capitalization rate. The best way to get your capitalization rate is to derive it from the sales of similar properties.

Once you have these figures you are ready to start to build an appeal case; the next step is to decide on what grounds you are going to base the appeal. You could choose to argue that the market rental rate is lower than the rate that has been used by the Fulton tax assessors. If you can find grounds to do so you can argue that your property is unique and will, therefore, never have the low expense ratio that was used in the assessment. The third option is to argue that the capitalization rate used is the assessment was too low.

The Appeal Process

The Fulton tax assessor’s offices set out a 45 day period from receiving your tax notice, to lodge your appeal. If you are sending documentation to their office, it is always a good idea to send it as certified mail so that you receive confirmation that your documents have reached their destination. Appealing in person can involve an informal discussion with the County appraiser and allows you the opportunity to explain why you disagree with the assessor's decision, and to ask questions. Prior to any meeting, send only the necessary documentation, and take the rest with you as further evidence of your case.

If you lose your appeal at this stage, it is not necessarily the end of the process; you can choose to have your case heard by the Board of Equalization which is free or you could choose to go to arbitration. When attending your appeal hearing remember to be on time, to explain your case clearly and to listen carefully to what is being said. The hearings are quite short, and you may have a lot of details to go through, but stick to the point and keep it short and business like. Whatever else you do, remember to stay calm and professional.

Arbitration does have costs attached but may be the best option if you have had mixed previous experiences with using the Board of Equalization. If you are still not in agreement with their decision then your final option is the Superior Court appeal, whose judgment on the matter is final.

Read More

Georgia Tax Appeals 2012-2013

According to Georgia state law all property tax assessment notices were to be in the mail by July 1. That means for some counties the property tax appeal deadline will be mid August. Most of the Metropolitan Atlanta counties had appeal deadlines that have already passed. If you didn't get your Georgia tax appeals filed in a timely manner there's always next year. Also, according to George state law you will be getting an assessment notice every year.

The bottom in the real estate market has been called over and over again since the market peak in 2007. Once again, the so-called experts are out in force, saying that the data doesn't lie, the housing market is in recovery. But with an unemployment rate that is still over 8% and economic shocks, such as European debt crisis and the fiscal cliff, looming at the end of this year I doubt there will be any sort of robust recovery in the housing market.

Read More
property tax appeals

Subscribe to our A Fair Shake Blog:

How Tax Assessors Use Sales to Value Property
New call-to-action