Your Property Tax Skyrocketed!!! Now what?

Atlanta Budgeting

Your Property Tax Skyrocketed!!! Now what?

Your Property Tax Skyrocketed!  Now What?

Our phones have lit up with calls from clients and neighbors who were shocked to see increases of 20-60% on their property assessments. It’s that time of year…when the County Tax Assessor mails out notices to property owners informing them of any changes in appraised value on their homes and corresponding potential property tax increase or decrease.  We dug into all available information, spoke with several experts, and compiled what we hope will be a valuable guide in understanding, and acting on, your Property tax assessment.

Read on below to better understand your assessment, what the experts have to say, and how to fight your property tax assessment if you believe it is wrong.

No assessment in the mail yet? Look up your most recent assessment and estimated tax bill by clicking here for Fulton county. Click here for Dekalb CountyClick Here for Cobb County

***As a complimentary service to you, we are happy to provide you comparable sales for your home for the last 12 months by emailing us at IntownAreaHomes at gmail dot com.***

 

An Assessment Increase Does Not Mean A Tax Increase

The first thing you need to understand is that the assessment notice is not your tax bill! It simply the county appraisers’ opinion  of what your property is worth.

County officials have acknowledged that their average property appraisal has increased 13% this year over last. Dwight Robinson, chief tax appraiser for Fulton County, has stated that the steep increases are simply to “catch-up” tax appraisals that have not kept pace with real estate appreciation in recent years. However, it is important to know that the Fulton County Commission has the power to set the millage (or tax rate) later this summer based on their budget needs. They do this by looking at the updated overall real estate assessments and setting the millage rate to generate tax revenue that will match their budget needs.

Just last year, the Fulton Commission technically lowered taxes in August when they voted to institute a rate of 10.45 mills. This represented a reduction from the 2015 rate of 10.5 mills, and was 0.10 mills lower than the proposed revenue-neutral rate of 10.55 mills. It seems quite clear that a rate reduction for 2017 might be on the table, contact your commissioners on this matter if you want to be heard.

What Can You Do To Lower Your Property Taxes ?

  1. Contact Your County Commissioner to voice your opposition to a tax increase and encourage them to keep the millage rate revenue-neutral. Click Here to find your commissioners.
  2. Contest Your property Tax Assessment yourself by following instructions posted here. You can even file an appeal online.
  3. Take our advice, and hire a professional to file an appeal on your behalf. As with any expert, they will help you avoid expensive mistakes. I have a few listed below that have done good work for some of my clients.

Note that an appeal of your property taxes is due prior to the date listed on the upper-right corner of your assessment notice. This deadline is based on when your notice was mailed and is between July 1-10 for most taxpayers this year in Fulton County.

When To NOT File An Appeal

  1. If you purchased your property last year or the year before and your new assessed value matches your purchase price, you might be wasting your time to appeal that unless conditions have changed.
  2. If you had a large increase in assessment, you may be indignant….but if you know deep down that your property would appraise for more…then you may do more harm than good in appealing!  As Leah Cadray with Preferred Tax Services says below: “filing an appeal is not advisable in all situations. In a way, filing an appeal is shining a spotlight on your home. So if you have recently pulled a construction permit to improve your home or have it listed at a value higher than your 2017 Notice Value, an appeal would not be recommended. “

 

Expert Advice On Contesting Your Tax Assessment

Below is a helpful Q & A with some of the best local professionals who will assist in filing your property tax appeal:

Campbell & Brannon Property Tax Services

Q: I have been hearing reports from my clients that many tax appraisals have been increased by 20-60% this year. Is this widespread? Has the Fulton assessor stated a new strategy or objective behind this?

A: All of Fulton was hit. Some areas more than others. Some areas more than 50% for everyone. Fulton is notorious for over-assessing so this is nothing entirely new. They feel since the market is improving they need to get their cut.

Q: Does it make sense for people to file an appeal on their own. Why hire a professional?

A: Most people have no idea what information to present and what format it needs to be presented in.

Q: How long does the process of appeal take and what should people expect?

A: Appeals normally take between 6-12 months. This year I anticipate it could easily take longer.

Q: Does filing an appeal have any downsides? Could it backfire in a possible further increase? Does it give the assessor the right to conduct an internal inspection of your home?

A: If you are trying to hide something from the county like extra square footage or finished basements or something that the county does not know about you better weigh it if it is worth it or not because it will likely come out in the open. The county does not need to come in unless you ask them to.

 

Costs: Our Professional Appeal service is $500 admin fee plus 25% contingency fee on the first years’ tax savings

Contact:

Campbell & Brannon Property Tax Services

One Buckhead Plaza
3060 Peachtree Road, Suite 1735
Atlanta, GA 30305
Phone: (404) 924-7040
Email:

ehale@campbellandbrannon.comor

jelrod@campbellandbrannon.com
www.campbellandbrannon.com

Preferred Tax Services

Q: I have been hearing reports from my clients that many tax appraisals have been increased by 20-60% this year. Is this widespread? Has the Fulton assessor stated a new strategy or objective behind this?

A: Yes, Fulton County has revalued many residential neighborhoods in the county in 2017, increasing taxable values dramatically.  In statements made by county officials, Fulton County is making an effort to increase values to reflect the growth that we have started to see since the 2008 market crash. 

Q: Does it make sense for people to file an appeal on their own. Why hire a professional?

A:People can certainly file an appeal on their own, as they could also cut their own hair, fix their own cars, sell/buy their own houses. As an expert in the property tax field, our firm specializes in research and market analysis. We can make informed choices to help maximize the potential for a reduction for each property we represent.  In contesting the proposed increase for 2017, I would certainly recommend enlisting the help of an expert.

Q: How long does the process of appeal take and what should people expect?

A:The appeals process is long, and the county will likely be processing an unprecedented number of appeals this year. I would expect to see resolve of most cases in the new year. 

Q: Does filing an appeal have any downsides? Could it backfire in a possible further increase? Does it give the assessor the right to conduct an internal inspection of your home?

A: Yes, filing an appeal is not advisable in all situations. In a way, filing an appeal is shining a spotlight on your home. So if you have recently pulled a construction permit to improve your home or have it listed at a value higher than your 2017 Notice Value, an appeal would not be recommended. At the regular appeals level, you do not have to allow any county representatives into your home, though they do have the right to walk around your property. 

Q: What other advice would you give people?

A: I would recommend that all property owners check to see if they qualify for a homestead exemption. Fulton County’s different exemptions and qualifications for each exemption can be found at: www.fultonassessor.org

Costs: We charge a contingency fee based on tax savings.

Contact:

Preferred Tax Services
Piedmont Place Office Building
3520 Piedmont Road, Suite 200 Atlanta, GA 30305

Equitax Property Tax Advisors

Equitax ….

  • Will File and complete all of the correspondence with County and City Tax Authorities necessary for a successful property tax appeal.
  • Will Attend meetings with Tax Assessors, County Appraisers, Boards of Equalization, or other Value Adjustment Boards on our Client’s behalf and as our Client’s property tax representative to achieve the most positive results possible.
  • Has a vast database of property values to establish comparables for every situation and demographic.
  • Has seasoned Property Tax Professionals, trained to analyze the valuation of residential properties. We investigate and analyze market trends and foreclosure activity, possible income and expense streams, replacement costs, flood plains, topographical issues, proximity to undesirable property types, and specific, sometimes hidden, factors that can often negatively affect a property’s value. We make sure that the County’s information is not inflated which might cause over assessments for our residential Clients.
  • Employs sophisticated and technologically advanced computer systems. We have developed proprietary web-based database software that is available to our Clients for immediate and instant updates on the status of the property’s involvement in the appeal process. With our systems, we are able to communicate best with our Clients, communicate effectively with tax jurisdictions, analyze property values with the most advanced valuation software available, purchase advanced databases from taxing jurisdictions, and macro manage individual Client needs and concerns.
 www.EquitaxUSA.com
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