“The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!” shouted an excited Steve Martin in The Jerk. Well, at least in Gwinnett County (with other counties to follow shortly), the new assessment notices are here! If you are a business owner, homeowner, real estate investor or landlord who disagrees with the 2022 ad valorem tax assessment of your home or business property, then it may be time to file an ad valorem tax appeal.
Ad valorem is Latin for “according to value”, so the amount of any assessment should be a function of the value of your property being taxed. While the real estate market and economy have certainly improved since the dark days of 2008, neither are currently rising as fast as some optimistic tax assessors would have you believe.
With respect to real property, Georgia law requires each county’s tax assessor to send assessment notices each year stating a fair market value for real property and improvements as of January 1st. Tax assessors have a duty to not only assess fair market value, but also to confirm that assessments are uniform. Have neighboring properties sold for less than your property’s assessed value? Is a neighboring property similar to yours, but assessed at a lower value? Is the information on file with the Tax Assessor’s Office accurate? Have you purchased your home or relocated your business in the prior year? Was your property reassessed in the previous three years? All of these are relevant initial questions in any tax appeal.
Certain changes were made to Georgia law some time ago that benefit taxpayers. 299(c) provides that when fair market value is decided after commencement of an appeal, a tax assessor may not reassess the subject property for two years following an appeal year. In appreciating markets, a locked-in value can be beneficial. Additionally, Georgia law now provides that if a value proposed by a tax assessor is confirmed by a board of equalization, and a taxpayer is subsequently successful in reducing the value by further appeal by 15% or more, the tax assessor may be responsible for all costs and fees incurred by the taxpayer in the appeal. Additionally, all appeals to the Superior Court require a tax assessor to schedule a settlement conference, and make a good faith attempt to resolve any dispute. The filing fee for Superior Court appeals is capped at $25.
Many homeowners, investors and small business owners may not realize the added expense that an overly inflated real property, equipment and/or inventory valuation can have. In addition to valuation questions, there may also be exemptions available.
Jim looks forward to working with you on whatever tax appeal needs you have. He is always happy to have a discussion with you about whether an appeal even makes sense. Furthermore, Jim is a commercial litigator and certified mediator/arbitrator with over twenty-three years of experience and handles a wide variety of litigation matters. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call his direct line at 770-513-1622 or cell at 404-290-2405.