You Filed a Property Tax appeal, Now What?



We want to share with you what comes next after filing your property tax appeal.  The process is the same whether you personally filed your appeal or hired a law firm like ours to handle it for you.  If at any point during the appeal process, you’d prefer some assistance with arguing your desired Fair Market Value or if you’d like us to represent you at the Board of Equalization hearing, we can handle that for you.

In the next couple weeks, counties across Georgia such as Gwinnett, Cobb, Fulton, Dekalb and all the way from Floyd to Glynn county will begin to mail out correspondence addressing property tax appeals.  Read over them carefully.

You Filed a Property Tax appeal, Now What?

What to expect in your mailbox?

There are three different letters you might receive from the County Tax Assessor’s office:

The Acknowledgment Letter
The 30 Day Notice
The No Change Letter

We cannot stress enough that you carefully read through the letters the county sends you.  We are on your side and would like you to know what each letter really represents.

The Acknowledge Letter
Once the appeal form is filed, the County Tax Assessor has 180 days to respond.  Many counties respond by sending an acknowledgement letter. The acknowledgment letter they received your appeal and is meant to satisfy the 180-day requirement.  There is no need to respond to an acknowledgment letter.

The 30-Day Notice
Another letter the County Tax Assessor may send you is known as a 30-day notice.  This contains an amended current year fair market value of your property (usually lower but can be higher).  Once you receive the 30-day notice, you have 30 days to file another appeal form, the PT-311a.  If you do not file another appeal, then the amended current year fair market value becomes the fair market value for that taxable year and is used to calculate your property tax bill.  

We recommend to continue the appeal process for at least two reasons:
1. To get the fair market value reduced as much as possible.
2. O.C.G.A. 48-5-299c (the 3 year freeze law) only applies if you attend the Board of Equalization Hearing and present written evidence.

The No Change Letter
The No Change Letter informs you the County Tax Assessor is not changing the current year fair market value of your property.  This does not mean your appeal is over! In the details of this letter, the County promises to forward your appeal to the Board of Equalization.  The date of your Board of Equalization hearing is not set at this point; that comes later with the Notice of Hearing letter.

The property tax appeal process can be daunting, time consuming and frustrating.  It can take several months and, in some cases, over a year to settle. The end goal of this lengthy appeal process is to reduce your actual property tax bill, but the argument is about the fair market value of your property.  We specialize in property tax appeals and can represent you at the Board of Equalization hearing.  Contact Us once you have received one of these three letters.

How We Saved Our Client Over $100,000

When they received their Notice of Assessment from Fulton County in the mail, they thought it was a mistake.  Their estimated property tax bill increased 1,002%. This bill had the potential to cripple the business and have real effects on head county and the viability of the business.

After several meetings with our firm and the Fulton County Appraisers, client was able to reduce the taxable fair market value of their property from $7,017,700 to $1,250,000 which reduced their 2017 property tax bill from $121,546 to $12,123.

Remember to check your notice of assessment for every property you own every year.  Georgia law requires each County Tax Assessor to send each property owner an estimate of the property tax bill on a “Notice of Assessment”.  These notices are sent in the mail and posted online. If the County’s opinion of the fair market value seems out of line, then give us a call to see if we can help.

Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption

One of the ways we honor those who have been injured while serving our country is through the disabled veteran homestead exemption.  Disabled Veterans qualify for a significant reduction in their property tax bill on their home.  They must complete an application with the county tax commissioner, provide the final disability determination letter from the VA and other documents which prove they reside in the home where they are claiming this exemption.

House Bill 196 was signed by Governor Deal in April of 2017 and became effective July 1st that same year. While the bill amends several sections of Chapter 5 of Title 48 in the Georgia Code, one of the amendments allows disabled veterans to receive a refund for property taxes they paid while they were disabled. House Bill 196 provides that if a veteran receives a final disability determination from the VA, which includes a retroactivity provision, they may receive a refund on their property taxes. However, a qualifying veteran may only receive a refund for the three years preceding their application for the homestead exemption.

If all proper documentation is provided by a disabled veteran, the county will then determine the proper amount to be refunded and will convey this to the tax commissioner who will then pay out the refund to the disabled veteran taxpayer.

A copy of House Bill 196 can be found here.

Homestead Exemption 2018 Deadline

Did you buy a house in 2017?   File your 2018 Homestead Exemption

Deadline is April 1, 2018

A Homestead Exemption is a legal provision that helps reduce the amount of property taxes owed on owner-occupied homes. The amount of the exemption varies from County to County and even from City to City within a County, but the bottom line is the Homestead Exemption saves you money.  In order to get the homestead exemption, you must complete the application form found on your County’s Tax Commissioner website in order to get the exemption.

To qualify for a basic homestead exemption, you must:

★      Own, occupy, and claim the property as your legal residence on January 1 of the year in which you first qualify for the exemption.

★      The person applying for the homestead exemption must be listed on the deed.

★      Continue to own and live in the home as your primary residence as long as you claim the exemption.

★      The property must be your address for all vehicle registrations, State and Federal income taxes.

★      You cannot claim a homestead exemption if you claim one anywhere else.

★      Homestead exemptions do not apply to commercial or rental properties, or second homes.

★       Homestead exemptions apply to individuals and not to corporations.

Check the County Tax Commissioner’s website to find details of the homestead exemption in your county.

Bartow County  Cherokee County   Clayton County  

Cobb County  Dekalb County   Douglas County

 Forsyth County   Fulton County   Gwinnett County

  Paulding County    GA Department of Revenue    Floyd County

The “Mailbox Rule” and Property Tax Appeals

We strongly encourage you to hand deliver your property tax appeal form and get a copy with a stamp that says “Received by County Tax Assessors Office” to keep in your records.

However, you can mail in your property tax appeal form.  If you mail in your property tax appeal form, then it must be postmarked by the deadline located in the upper right hand corner of your Annual Notice of Tax Assessment.

This is due to O.C.G.A. § 50-13-23, more commonly known as “the mailbox rule”.

This is the law that caused huge lines at the Post Office on April 15 before turbo tax or e-filing tax existed.  According to this law, a document is received on the date it is postmarked, and not the date it is actually received.