Planning Ahead When Hiring a Cobb Property Tax Consultant

By now, the benefits of hiring a Cobb property tax consultant as a third-party vendor that provide a wide range of tax services should be evident by now. In brief, these benefits include freeing up valuable internal resources including manpower hours for expansion purposes and mitigating the risks associated with non-compliance with the law. 

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The Value of Getting the Best Cobb Real Estate Tax Services

Being a real property owner can bring headaches, from paying exorbitant property taxes to dealing with errant tenants. You may enjoy your home yet you’re becoming frustrated about its related taxes. You may also be making a profit from rental apartments but their property taxes are killing it.

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How to Find the Right Property Tax Consultants

You may think that your accountant has all of your tax preparation needs covered for you. However, if you own your home, a boat, an airplane, or any other piece of large property that can be taxed, you may need to talk with someone who specializes in property taxes. Property tax consultants can help taxpayers in a number of ways.

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A Guide to Hiring a Tax Consultant for Your Property Tax Appeal

Property taxes are onerous, difficult burdens to bear, particularly when you consider the number of other taxes you’re liable for during the course of just a single year. There’s good news, though. Many homeowners in the Metro Atlanta area are overpaying in property taxes due to inaccurate home assessments, missing exemptions and delayed assessments that don’t allow for market fluctuations. Appealing your tax assessment can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. However, it’s best to go into the process with the help of an experienced tax consultant.

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Atlanta Property Tax Consultant Sees UFO

While doing research for a property tax appeal on a warehouse/production facility a field visit was performed. The building is in an older industrial part of town and was built early in the last century. By looking at the exterior you can see that the improvements are old and suffer from physical deterioration. Undisclosed Functional Obsolescence was also discovered, which if taken into consideration by the tax assessors would lower the taxable value of the improvements further.

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Atlanta Property Tax Consultants

In the Atlanta Metropolitan area there are many property tax consulting firms. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, Georgia tax law does not require that the counties appraise all properties every year, and infrequent appraisals often resulted in large percentage increases in value. Also, the county tax assessors’ values were incorrect in many cases and unfair (inequitable) in others. When property owners get large increases in tax assessments and corresponding tax bills in general they are outraged and want to do something about it. That is why there are so many property tax consultants in the Atlanta Metro area.

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Fair Assessments, LLC vs. Appraisers

This article contrasts the work done by Fair Assessments, LLC vs. Appraisers. During the recent real estate depression (some might say ongoing) many people saw that there was money to be made in property tax reduction work and got into the business. Many of the people/companies that have gotten into this work are real estate appraisers. Some people might think that this is a natural extension of what appraisers already do for a living. They might be wrong. 

The appraisal business has changed a lot since I did this work twenty years ago. The government, in the name of protecting federally insured institutions and the public, has (unintentionally) driven down the price of a real estate appraisal. There are a handfull of large companies that make software for appraisers, and some of them saw a way to make more money by providing marketing services to appraisers. One that I am aware of, a la mode inc., pushes it's print and email marketing software to appraisers that "will proactively help you get new clients that pay higher fees."

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How Much Should I Pay a Property Tax Consultant?

For residential property tax appeal consulting the cost falls in a narrow range. Your best bet is to find the most qualified consultant that you can. Typical residential flat fees may be $350 or higher. Alternatively, many companies charge $250 up front and 25% of whatever tax savings are generated. Some offer $150 +/- plus a third of the tax savings generated. Generally speaking qualifications are more important than saving a few dollars in up-front cost.

Beware of companies that send you a letter or postcard that says "this is how much we think we can save you $." You can be reasonably certain they are using a database of old values to generate these postcard savings estimates. I would be very cautious about this, especially if there’s a high flat fee involved. Some of these companies may charge $350 or more, and if you’re in a city or county that reappraises on an annual basis, spending that much money may be a losing proposition. If they get a reduction that doesn't cover their service fees, and the County increases your tax assessment the next year, then you have just wasted your money.

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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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Fulton County Taxpayer Foundation Ends Property Tax Appeal Work

As reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation (FCTF) is on the verge of collapse. They have laid off the staff that was doing property tax appeal work and have hired an auditor to make a decision on whether to continue the organization under new leadership, or shut it down. The current President, John Sherman's health is failing.

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