by Ken Zdrok, Esq.April 22, 2024

Understanding the Georgia Property Tax Appeal Process

In Georgia, all real estate is taxable unless specifically exempted by law. Real estate includes land, buildings, improvements to land, and manufactured homes affixed to land and considered real property. Georgia counties issue assessments annually.

Each county will issue a written assessment between April and June, and the taxpayer will have 45 days from the date of the assessment to file an appeal. Appeals must be received or postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service (no metered or express mail) no later than the 45th day. The standard appeal form approved by the state (PT-311A) is effective in every county. Some counties accept online appeals.

On the PT-311A, the taxpayer is required to submit an estimated value and select a trier of fact in the matter. The choices are the Board of Equalization (BOE), Arbitration, Hearing Officer, and Superior Court. For residential taxpayers, the best and most common option is the BOE. The BOE is a panel of three taxpayers from the county who received some valuation training from the Georgia Department of Revenue. For most commercial taxpayers with properties valued over $500,000, a Hearing Officer is the best and most common option. Having a hearing officer ensures that a certified general appraiser will hear and decide the case. A Certified General Appraiser is a professional licensed by the state to issue opinions of value on property.

Taxpayers should contact the county assessor identified on their assessment notice to discuss the possibility of settlement. If the taxpayer presents compelling valuation evidence, the assessor might be willing to agree to a value. Such evidence could be an appraisal, construction costs, or even repair estimates for unrepaired damage. If there is a meeting of the minds regarding value, both parties can agree to suspend the appeal by signing an “Appeal Waiver,” the new value will be substituted for the original assessed value.

If a property tax appeal does not settle and written evidence is presented by the taxpayer at a hearing, a favorable provision of the Georgia property tax code comes into effect. That statute, known as 299(c), freezes the value decided at the hearing for three years, the current year under appeal, and two additional years. Thus, a successful appeal will essentially triple the savings when the two future years are considered. Even an unsuccessful appeal where there is no change in value locks in that value for an additional two years, preventing increases by the assessor.

Even if the taxpayer who is unsuccessful in the first level of an appeal has advantages in the Georgia property tax laws, the cost to appeal the decision to state Superior Court is only $25. Many taxpayers pay the $25 and continue to try to negotiate with the county to resolve the matter before either party needs to retain counsel.

Contact McGuire Sponsel’s Property Tax Services team with questions about the Georgia appeal process and timeline.

As Principal for McGuire Sponsel’s Property Tax practice, Ken Zdrok manages real property assessment review and appeals, personal property assessment review and appeals, pre-acquisition advising, and acquisition price allocation consulting.

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