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Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Property Tax Appeals Process: Lower Your Taxes

Last year, I wrote an article about the process of appealing your property taxes.  This is a follow up to that story.  I did appeal my property taxes last year.  I live in Fulton County and the deadline for appealing is April 1 of a calendar year.  So last winter I did a little research and found the correct link to use to start the process.  I filled out the form and mailed it in well before the April 1 deadline.

I found lots of comparable sales that justified my asking to lower my tax value assessment and sent them in with the form and a letter to appeal to the senses of the powers that be in Fulton County.  Late last fall, I received a letter from the county that they had reviewed the information I sent in and that the request to reassess my property was denied. 

Then, last month I received a letter from the Fulton County Board of Equalization Office stating that my request for a hearing before the Board of Equalization had been received and I would have a hearing on February 1 at 2:30 pm.  How exciting!  The letter went on to explain that I would need to bring documentation to support my statement of value.  As a realtor, I can document the bejesus out of real estate.  So I did.  I made 4 copies of my report (as was suggested by the letter I received) that included a photo of my property and surrounding properties on my street, a section of active and pending listings (which would demonstrate a further declining trend in values) and a detailed report of all the sold listings in my townhome complex which sold in the year 2010 including all properties square feet, average sold price, average square footage of the solds, and information to show how my property compares to the sold properties.  My research showed that the current value of my property was $67,000+ less than the Fair Market Value used to assess my property for taxes.

I arrived promptly at 2:15 and headed into the downtown building on Pryor Street.  I brought my Kindle Fire thinking I would be waiting forever to be seen and purchased the maximum 2 hours on the meter for street parking.  I was impressed and surprised that they called me in the room right away.  The room consisted of three members of the Board of Equalization who are property owners in Fulton County that are selected and appointed by the Grand Jury and sworn in by a Superior Court Judge.  These people have the power to change a property tax assessment.  Also present was a man who represented the County.  The board members were very nice and respectful and listened first to the County Representative who showed the comps the County used to assess value and then they listened to me. 

The big surprise was that the County Rep had comps from 2010.  (If you are reading this article in the future, I am writing this as of Feb 1, 2012.)  All of my comps were from 2011, which were lower than 2010 sales.  The Board explained to me that I was appealing the taxes for 2011 and that the comps should be prior to the date of January 1, of the tax year in question.  HUH?  Well, I screwed up, but that wasn't made clear to me in the letter.  The Board reviewed my information as well as the County's information and decided to go with the County's value of assessment.  The good news is that the County had revisited the comps from 2010 because of my appeal and had lowered my tax assessment.  They hadn't lowered it to what I thought it should be, but hey, they lowered it. 

Next Step:  I can appeal the Board's decision by filing another appeal- this time to the Grand Jury.  The Board explained that if I did make an appeal to the Grand Jury, I should probably have an attorney, as the County would have an attorney represent them.  They also told me that I can appeal next year, and that next year (I guess when they say next year they mean 2011, which was last year and I would have to appeal this year) I will already have the information ready that I need to appeal using the 2011 sold information I had brought.  The simple truth is the county is behind.  This should be no surprise to anyone.  Bottom line:  values are declining, and it's a pretty simple process to appeal- even if it is a little confusing as to which year you're appealing, but definitely worth the time and effort.

4 comments:

  1. Its just like one time investment , approval of appeal can save your all the previous year taxes and will save you for paying extra tax next year....
    thanks for sharing the information.

    ReplyDelete
  2. First of all you have to evaluate your current property value. If you found that it is lesser then your assessments value then you should appeal .Lots of the people do not fight either they don't know that it is beneficial or they think that it is time and money consuming. But it is not difficult nor money consuming Actually it is money saving ..... It will take a little time but if you don't have time then you can hire an expert who will take care of your case...

    It is my great pleasure to visit your website and to enjoy your excellent post here. I like that very much.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tips to reduce your Property Tax :

    You must evaluate your property .
    Try to find error in the property bills.
    If you found them incorrect then you must appeal against your property bills.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am delighted that I found this website , just the right information that I was looking for!
    everyone wants lower their property taxes...
    good

    ReplyDelete