Can we reduce your property tax bill?

We have developed a systematic, data-driven approach to the property tax appeal process which gives you a great chance of reducing your property tax bill.  About 85% of our clients reduce their property tax bill.  We admit these numbers are skewed because we interview every client to make sure they have a decent chance of getting a reduction.  This is the reason you can not sign up for an appeal through this website.  We conduct these free initial consultations on the phone, via email or in person.

When you appeal your property tax bill, you are appealing the assessed value of your property.  In Georgia, property tax bills are calculated based on the assessed value and the millage rate.  The millage rate is set at the political level while the County Tax Assessor determines the assessed value of each property.  The assessed value is 40% of the fair market value of the property on January 1 of the taxable year.

If your appeal reduces the assessed value of your property, then the property tax bill is re-calculated using the updated assessed value.

What are the scope of your services?  We handle the entire appeal process for you.

 

Evaluate your property tax bill to ensure you are getting all available exemptions.

 

Check the County records to ensure the information about your property is accurate.

 

File Appeal with County Tax Assessor.

 

Research the County Tax Digest to see if tax assessments are uniform and fair.

 

Prepare a Market Analysis of your property for the taxable year in question.

 

Negotiate with County Appraisers.

 

Representation at Board of Equalization Hearing.

 

Continue the appeal to Superior Court – optional, additional fees apply.

How much does your service cost?

For residential properties, we offer two payment options:

Option 1:  Fee of $250 plus 25% of the savings achieved on your property tax bill

Option 2:  Flat fee of $500

For commercial properties, we offer two payment options:

Option 1:  Flat Fee of $500 plus 25% of the savings achieved on your property tax bill

Option 2:  Flat fee of $1,000

Is there a deadline to file a property tax appeal?

 

Yes.  The deadline is 45 days from receipt of the Notice of Assessment.  Please keep in mind the deadline may be and probably will be different from County to County.

Georgia law requires the County Tax Assessor to send a Notice of Tax Assessment to each property owner by July 1.  O.C.G.A. 48-5-306.  This letter contains the fair market value of your property as well as other useful information.  These are sent through the mail and are posted online in most counties.

How is my property tax bill calculated?

 

The County Tax Commissioner calculates the property tax bills based on the fair market value of the property and the millage rate.  They are also responsible for applying any exemptions which the owner is claiming.

Georgia law allows for property owners to claim several exemptions which factor into the total bill including but not limited to Homestead Exemptions, Conservation Use Valuation Assessments (CUVA) and Senior Exemptions.     

How is the fair market value of each property determined?

The County Tax Assessors use a mass appraisal system to determine the fair market value.

The Official Code of Georgia defines fair market value as the amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller in an arms length transaction.  O.C.G.A. 48-5-6.  Each County in Georgia has a Tax Assessor who is responsible for determining the fair market value of each property in their County.

 

What is the millage rate?

The millage rate is the percentage of the value of your property charged by each entity receiving a portion of the property tax revenues.  The millage rates are set by each entity after the notices of Assessment are sent.  For example, there might be a millage rate for the city, the county, the public school system and several other entities on your bill.  

You can calculate the overall millage rate by dividing the total tax bill by the fair market value of your property.  

Who determines the millage rate?

Politicians set the millage rates through specific rules set out in the Official Code of Georgia.  The process is thorough and involves public hearings, public notices and possibly even a referendum.

How long will the appeal process take?

The appeal process usually takes 3 to 6 months but can go on for years if you proceed through the Court system.  It is unlikely, but property tax appeal cases can go all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court.  Masters v. Dekalb County Board of Tax Assessors, 703 S.E. 2d 320 (2010).

Is my property tax bill due while the appeal is pending?

Yes.  The County issues a temporary bill while the appeal is pending.  The taxpayer has the option of paying this temporary bill in full or paying the lesser of 85% of this year’s bill or last year’s bill.

After the appeal is resolved, the County will reconcile your account and send you a final statement either asking for more money or giving you a refund.

What is the Board of Equalization?

The Board of Equalization (BOE) is a three-person panel of taxpayers who hear property tax appeal cases.  They are appointed by the Grand Jury and they must live in the County where they serve. Their job is to determine the fair market value of the property under appeal.  

What counties do you handle?

The appeal process is the same in each County so we can handle a case in any County in Georgia.  The majority of our cases are in Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb or Gwinnett.

Do the County Appraisers hate owners who appeal their bill?

No, the appeal process is about data and it is not personal.  The County Appraisers work hard to try to get these values correct.  They have a huge task with a limited budget and they understand the appeal process is an important part of the system that makes the values more accurate.      

If I have already filed an appeal, can you still represent me?

Yes, many of our clients have already filed an appeal.  We can take over your appeal at any stage in the process, but we prefer to handle the case from beginning to end because there are opportunities to win, or lose, the appeal at each stage.

Want more information?

The Georgia Department of Revenue has an excellent website with great resources:  https://dor.georgia.gov/property-taxes-georgia

 

Or call us at 404-419-3574 or email us at office@haprichardson.com