Georgia residents who own property in Douglas County were sent their property appraisal notices on June 1. The notices informed 53,000 Douglas County property owners about the 2015 value of their property that was calculated for county taxation reasons. Property values increased for 66 percent and decreased for 23 percent of Douglas County property owners. Eleven percent of the property owners saw no change in the value of their properties.
Contained in the notices was the fair market value of the properties, which is a figure that is based on sales of similar properties and other factors. Property owners will pay taxes based on the assessed value of their property, which is 40 percent of the fair market value.
In Georgia, property owners are allowed to appeal the new tax assessments each year. After receiving a new appraisal notice, a property owner has 45 days to submit a form or letter stating that they believe the new property valuation is either too low or too high. When property taxes are due, a property owner who has appealed the valuation of their property must pay 85 percent of their property tax bill. Once the appeal is heard, the property owner may be refunded after adjustments are made.
A tax attorney may be able to assist a property owner in an appeal of a new property valuation. Before submitting an appeal form, an attorney may be able to investigate the property valuation to make sure that an appeal would be in the property owner's best interests. An attorney may help the property owner to gather supporting documents for their appeal such as independent assessments and reports on comparative property sales.