Frequently Asked Questions about Property Tax Appeals
Do I need to file a real property tax return?
A return is a statement of your opinion of value of your property as of January 1. If you do not file a return, your property is 'deemed' returned at last year's assessment value. Most property owners do not need to file a return. I typically do not recommend filing returns on properties with pending appeals or that were recently appealed. A return may be advisable, however, if there was a change to your property in the previous year that substantially affects its value: a renovation or demolition, a sale of part of your property, or, for income producing property, a substantial change in the income potential.
What is the Homestead exemption?
The basic Homestead exemption is available to each Georgia resident (or married couple) on their primary residence that is owned and lived in as of January 1. When granted, the Homestead exemption exempts part of the assessed value of your home from taxation. If you live in a city, you may need to file with both your county and city property tax commissioner. In addition to the basic Homestead exemption, special exemptions may be available in your county. Homestead exemption applications are due April 1 of each tax year.
Do I need to file for a new Homestead exemption every year?
No. The Homestead exemption renews each year that you own your home. If your county introduces a new Homestead exemption, or if you become eligible for a new exemption (age for example), you need to file a new application.
What is an annual notice of assessment?
Property owners receive an annual notice of assessment from the county tax assessors each year between early April and late June. The annual notice of assessment states basic information about the property including the previous year and current year fair market values, deadline for appeal, and an estimated tax bill. See a sample notice of assessment here.
How can I reduce my property taxes?
The most direct ways to reduce your property tax bill are to apply for all available exemptions and appeal the assessment value of your property.
What is the deadline to file a property tax appeal?
Appeals are due 45 days after the assessment notice is issued. The due date is printed on the top right-hand corner of your assessment notice as the "last day to file a written appeal."
Can the value of my property increase if I file a property tax appeal?
Typically, no. In rare cases, if there is a substantial error in the tax assessors records that is discovered during an appeal, the correction of that error can cause an increase in value.
What are the benefits to filing an appeal?
If the value of your property is reduced by the appeal, your property tax bill will also be reduced. In addition, regardless of whether the appeal results in a reduction a value or not, the final value from an appeal locks-in for two more tax years in most cases.
Do I have to pay my property tax bill while the appeal is pending?
Yes. You will receive a temporary bill while the appeal is pending, which must be paid timely. Once your appeal is resolved, the tax commissioner will reconcile your account based on what was previously paid, and the total taxes due based on the final valuation.
How long does a property tax appeal take?
It varies county to county, and depends on the volume of appeals filed in the county each year. Most appeals are completed within the tax year, but some can take 9-12 months.
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