Property Tax Appeal Information

6.20.2016


Greetings:

I hope you are having a pleasant summer. I wanted to send a note with information about how to appeal property taxes in DeKalb. I hope you will find this helpful.

Sincerely,
Scott

Property tax appeal information

Similar to last year, this week I've heard from several constituents who have concerns about their property tax appraisals in DeKalb County, so I am again sending out information concerning the property tax appeal process.

Your first stop should be the DeKalb County website, which has a link that provides instructions for the entire appeal process. Here is that link: http://taxcommissioner.dekalbcountyga.gov/PropertyAppraisal/appeal.html.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions:

What form do I need to use?

There is no specific form that is required but DeKalb County provides a form on its website that you can download. It is available here: http://taxcommissioner.dekalbcountyga.gov/PropertyAppraisal/forms/REAppealForm.pdf. Along with the form, you should include any supporting documents that help support your position.

Can I appeal online?

You can appeal online. First you will you view your property tax information here: http://taxcommissioner.dekalbcountyga.gov/PropertyAppraisal/realSearch.asp. You will fill in your property information, and then click on "I want to appeal."

You can also call the county at 404-371-0841.

When is the appeal due?

The date the appeal is due is on your notice, and it is likely July 18th. You must submit your appeal on time. If you choose to mail your letter of appeal, it must be postmarked by the appeal deadline to ensure acceptance as a timely appeal. Late appeals will not be processed, and DeKalb County does not accept appeals by email or fax.

Keep a copy of your appeal and any supporting documents that you submit and any correspondence with the county. You will need these documents for your hearing.

Which form of appeal should I use?

As shown on the appeal webpage, http://taxcommissioner.dekalbcountyga.gov/PropertyAppraisal/appeal.html#, you have three venues: the Board of Equalization (BoE), a hearing officer, or an arbitration panel. The appeal to the BoE is free, while some cost is involved in the other two options.

What documents can I use in my appeal?

There are two primary bases for filing an appeal—fair market value and uniformity.

Fair market value is based on the 2015 calendar year as reflected on January 1, 2016, so you need to find information documenting comparable homes that were sold during that time. You can look online at websites such as http://www.zillow.com/ or http://www.appraisal.com/ and look for sales in 2015. (In addition, you may want to include recent sales in 2016 if they are lower than the assessed value of your home. This information can help to show market conditions, because prices likely were not higher in 2015.)

Uniformity is based on the assessed value per square foot for similar homes. To make this determination, divide the 100% assessment value by the total square footage (this information should be on your form and you can also find it by looking up your home on the county's website—see above for the link).

What happens after I file my appeal to the BoE?

The tax assessor's office will review your appeal and will contact you to let you know if they have decided to grant a reduction in value. They may send you a letter or call you. If they call you and make an offer to reduce the value and you accept, they will confirm this in writing.

If the tax assessor does not grant a reduction, you have the right to go before the BoE.

Generally, a reduction lasts for three years whether granted by the tax assessor or the BoE.

If I have a live hearing, how should I prepare for it?

You have the right to review the tax assessor's comparable properties and other documents before the hearing. You can either go to the assessor's office before the hearing or submit written request for this information. You should do this as it will help you prepare your presentation.

At the hearing, you can request for the tax assessor's representative to present first so you can respond to the points that are raised.

Be organized. Bring five copies of all of your appeal documents with you—three for the BOE members, one for the tax assessor's representative, and one for yourself. You should plan ahead of time how you want to present your case, and have the documents to support your position.

What about the tax freeze?

The tax freeze covers county government taxes, but not school and city taxes. County taxes generally account for about 1/3 of your total property tax bill, which means that a jump in property value results in higher taxes.



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