After a person files a Georgia state income tax return, the Georgia Department of Revenue may review the return and make an initial determination that the filer owes additional tax. Generally, the first time a person will learn of the additional tax assessment is when they receive a notice of assessment from the DOR in the mail.
Upon receiving the initial proposed assessment notice, the taxpayer has 30 days from the postmark date to send a protest of proposed assessment form to the department. The department will then review the filed return as well as the protest and will either grant the protest or deny it. If the dispute is denied, the DOR will send an official assessment with a demand for payment to the taxpayer. Any appeal of the official assessment must be filed within 30 days. Alternatively, the taxpayer can choose to pay the assessed additional amount. If a taxpayer fails to do either, the state may then issue a tax execution against the person's property or bank accounts in order to recover the amount allegedly owed. The state may also garnish the taxpayer's wages.
In order to file an appeal, people must file it with either the Georgia Tax Tribunal or with the superior court within 30 days of the assessment notice date. The Georgia Tax Tribunal is separate from the DOR and its decisions are final.
When people receive tax assessments, they should address them as soon as possible. Obviously, the time for disputing their validity is very short and if a person fails to dispute the assessment, he or she faces potential garnishment or other collection action. People may wish to seek the help of a tax law attorney when they have received a notice. An attorney may be able to help with the dispute or negotiate a settlement to pay a lesser tax amount.
Source: Georgia Department of Revenue, "Assessment Notices & the Appeal Process", November 30, 2014