Tax season is here, and many homeowners are finding themselves shocked by the high property tax bills they have received. If you’re in the same boat and are wondering what you can do about it, you’re in luck. In this article, we will guide you through the process of questioning your property tax assessment and appealing it if necessary.
Understanding Property Tax Assessments
First, it’s essential to understand how property tax assessments work. Property tax assessments are based on an appraisal performed by a government employee or a contracted appraiser. However, like any human, assessors are prone to making mistakes. They often rely on broad averages and computer algorithms when assessing properties. This means that your property value may not reflect its true market value.
To determine whether your property tax assessment is accurate, you need to check your property value on popular real estate websites or consult with a trusted real estate agent or appraiser. Compare your property’s assessed value with the actual market value of similar properties in your area. This information will give you a good idea of whether you should file an appeal.
Steps to Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment
Check your Property Value: Use popular real estate websites or consult with a trusted real estate agent or appraiser to estimate the value of your property accurately.
Research Property Assessments: Visit the website qpublic.net for your county to see how other properties in your area are being assessed. Look for information on square footage, land value, bedrooms, baths, and fair market value.
Identify Inaccuracies or Discrepancies: Determine if the county has improperly identified your property by comparing it to the description and assessors’ reports. Look for any errors or omissions that may have resulted in an inaccurate appraisal. Take photos of your property to highlight any flaws that could devalue it. Collect any evidence, such as recent sales or appraisals of comparable homes in your area, to support your claim.
Know the Deadline: Each county has different deadlines to file your appeal, but Georgia law requires filing within 45 days after notice has been made. Find the date on your tax assessment and make sure to adhere to the hard deadline.
File an Appeal: Visit your county’s tax assessors website to find the form for filing an appeal. Make sure your appeal letter is well-written, clear, and concise. Clearly state your reasons for the appeal and support them with evidence. Identify any errors or omissions made by the assessor and be specific about the value you believe your property should be assessed at.
Attend a Hearing: If your appeal is accepted, you will be invited to attend a hearing where you can present your case to an independent panel. The county assessor will also be present to present their side. Prepare for the hearing by becoming well-versed in your case and gathering all the necessary evidence to support your argument. You can also bring an expert to testify on your behalf. Be clear and concise when presenting your case, organize your evidence effectively, and answer panel questions truthfully. Remember to thank the panel members for their time and consideration and maintain a professional and courteous demeanor.
Accept the Decision or Appeal Further: If your appeal is accepted, the assessor will adjust your property tax bill accordingly. However, be aware that the adjustment may not be what you initially anticipated. If your appeal is dismissed, you may have the option to appeal to a higher level, such as a state board. Only pursue this option if you believe your evidence was not properly considered or if there was a procedural error in the process.
Appealing your property tax assessment can be a daunting process, but by following these steps, you can ensure that your property receives a fair appraisal. Remember to thoroughly research your property’s value, gather evidence to support your claim, and submit a well-written appeal within the deadline. Be prepared for a hearing and accept the panel’s decision or appeal further if necessary. Good luck in fighting for a fair property tax assessment!
If you have any questions or need assistance with your appeal, feel free to contact Bonnie Mullinax, a knowledgeable real estate agent with over 30 years of experience at Keller Williams Realty. You can find her contact information in the description below. And if you found this information helpful, don’t forget to subscribe to her channel for more informative content.