Home values are increasing, but rates remain the same. Will you be paying thousands more this year?
Some residents report a 38% increase in their Atlanta property assessment in just ONE year…
Since the market crash of 2008, homeowners and Real Estate professionals have been (im)patiently waiting for home values to rise. The wait seems to be over as home values begin to soar but like all things, this is coming with a price – higher tax bills for unsuspecting residents across metro Atlanta.
Few local governments are reducing tax rates this year resulting in property tax bills costing homeowners hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than they paid last year. Taxable property values jumped in each of Atlanta’s four core counties this year, with increases ranging from less than 4% in Fulton County to nearly 17% in Gwinnett. In DeKalb County, the value of residential properties increased by 11% and in Cobb – 7%.
Some residents are shocked to find that the County Tax Assessor’s are assessing their properties $50,000-$100,000 higher than what the home would sell for.
“They don’t have to crush us while we’re all recovering,” said Gris, a financial adviser whose two-story home was valued at $225,000 last year. “I can’t figure out how they have me priced like this. It’s really painful.”
Property tax bills are based on a combination of how much counties say a property is worth and the tax rate for services such as public schools, police and parks. Residents face a tax increase when assessments rise but tax rates remain the same.
Metro Atlanta tax appraisers were slow to reduce home valuations after the recession began in late 2008, causing a disparity between taxable and actual property values, according to previous investigations by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Now, some homeowners said, county governments are taking advantage of the economic recovery by ramping up Atlanta property assessments that have been depressed for the last few years.
In 1999, Georgia passed the “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” law which is designed to protect homeowners from back-door tax increases created by escalating property values. The law explicitly states that local governments must slash property tax rates to account for rising assessments unless they hold three public hearings, the vote on a tax increase. It seems that Atlanta counties are not serving their residents since most county commissions, city councils and school boards in the region voted not to reduce their property tax rates this year.
This issue either already has or will effect you as an Intown resident. To appeal your Atlanta property assessment, see below.
HOW TO APPEAL YOUR PROPERTY APPRAISAL
If you receive a property appraisal that’s higher than what you think your home is worth, you can file an appeal. Here’s the process for appealing:
- File an appeal to the county Board of Equalization. Use your county’s website for your appeal if possible, or send an appeal by certified mail with a return receipt requested. That way, you’ll have proof of your appeal.
- Counties will then send a letter that may include an“offer to settle”for a lower value. This offer can be accepted, or the appeal will continue if residents send a letter objecting to the offer within 30 days.
- During a Board of Equalization hearing, residents can make their case by comparing their property with others that have recently sold, Morris said. They can also take pictures of similar houses and present their values.
- If all else fails, you can bring your case to court. These cases are often settled during mediation, and if the revised value is at least 15 percent lower, state law requires the county to pay for your legal costs.
DeKalb County Residents: Please note that the deadline to file an appeal is July 14th. To learn more about the DeKalb appeals process click here.
Fulton County Residents: If you wish to appeal, you must do so before the appeal deadline date printed on your notice. To learn more, click here.
Cobb County Residents: Appeal may only be filed within 45 days of the mail date of your Assessment Notice. For the appeal form, click here.
Gwinnett County Residents: Appeals may only be filed within 45 days of the mail date of your Assessment Notice. For the Gwinnett appeal form, click here.
For assistance with compiling a comparative market analysis click here.
If you are a homeowner and have received an property tax assessment for your home that has you considering selling your home, contact me today so we can verify that price with a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. I would love to walk you through the home selling and buying process and help you get exactly what your home is worth!