General Tax Appeal Process
DGF Properties’ goal is to assist owners in appealing their property taxes which can save owners hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, of dollars in the long run.
We start the appeal process by analyzing your property’s fair market value and researching your local real estate market for recent area sales and reviewing comparable properties for uniformity of values. This research is prepared into a report and submitted to county appraisers for review and ultimately to the county Board of Equalization, if necessary. Our goal is to use the above to get you the lowest new property tax assessment possible.
It is extremely important your new property tax assessment is based solely on current market conditions and comparable properties. The benefit of successfully appealing your property tax assessment is that your county and city property taxes may be set at this new assessed value for the next three years. Our services cover all filings, research, documentation, and appearance before the Board. Additionally, we may forward your appeal to the county Superior Court, if necessary; however, additional fees may apply.
If you are interested in our services and discussing our fees, please go to the home page and provide us your contact information. A member of our staff will contact you within 48 hours so we can answer any of your questions and get you started.
Each year, county tax assessors issue property value assessments on residential and commercial properties within their respective counties. Known as an “Annual Notice of Assessment”, these notices are usually a property owner’s first notice of a potential increase in the assessed value of their property which usually results in a higher tax bill later. Once the assessment notice is mailed, property owners have up until the date specified on the notice as “Last date to file a written appeal” – which is no more than 45 days - to contest or appeal the County’s assessment. Sounds simple enough, but from there things can get much more complicated. Just as each property is unique and different, each property owner’s appeal process can be unique, challenging and different. What will your process look like? Having a trained real estate professional on your side ahead of time, to gather and present the right evidence and information for you, will help make the appeal process easier and more beneficial for you.
For an overview of the appeals process, look here for information from the Georgia Department of Revenue website.
The Do’s of Appealing
Pay attention to activity in your area. Are people moving in or out of your neighborhood? Are there more/less homes or businesses for rent? Are “for sale” signs springing up around you, and if so, are the properties selling?
Look at the details of your yearly assessment notice. Every spring, property owners receive a Notice of Assessment. This notice not only lists what the county values your property to be, but also shows if you have homestead exemption, and what your estimated taxes are for the year. It is this notice that once sent, triggers the opening of the 45 day window to appeal your assessment.
If you haven’t had an appraisal done on your property, ask your insurance company if they will provide one. Many insurance companies will order an appraisal at your request for free as it allows them to review the property’s value and make suggestions regarding your insurance levels. In many cases, people find that they aren’t carrying the correct amount.
Go to your county tax commissioner’s website and look up your tax history. Most counties will show ten years worth of records. By doing this, you’ll see how your property is trending for both assessed values and property taxes.
By doing these four things, you’ll be able to determine if the time is right to appeal your taxes and put some money back in your pocket.
The Don’t of Appealing
Many people think that they can’t do anything about their taxes; that they just have to grin and bear it. Don’t be a spectator when it comes to your property, be a player! While you can’t fight the millage (tax) rate, you can fight the assessed value. The assessed value multiplied by the millage rate is how much you pay in taxes.
Don’t put your property on the market if it’s currently under appeal. This is the number one way to kill your appeal! Telling the county your property is worth less than they value it and then trying to sell it for more than the current appraised value is a big mistake. Not only will the county look up your property to see if it’s listed, they can fight to raise your value before the Board of Equalization using your listing price against you.
Don’t make any changes to your deed without re-applying for Homestead exemption. Any deed change you make will nullify your exemption, so don’t wait to re-apply. The Homestead window runs from Jan 1- April 1. Missing a year of homestead exemption can cost a homeowner close to $1,000. As always, if you are unsure about your particular course of action, you can call on us for guidance. We’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction.