You may have already received your 2023 tax assessment. The property tax appeal process does not favor the taxpayer.
- For one, you MUST meet the deadline or you lose your right to appeal the assessment, with no exceptions.
- You must select whether you are appealing based on value, uniformity or that your property has been unlawfully re-assessed.
- You must select either the Board of Equalization or Arbitration as the method of appeal. Most people select the BOE.
The BOE is a “jury of your peers”. They are volunteers from the community that serve to hear your appeal. Once at the hearing, you will be faced with the County appraiser and the County’s supporting documents, usually comparables based on sales and equity from your neighborhood code. If you go in without sufficient documentation supporting your requested value, the County almost always wins. Even if you do, the members of the BOE are often rubber stamps for the County’s value. If the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the determination of the BOE, there is a right to appeal to Superior Court. At that stage, there will be a Settlement Conference with the taxpayer or their representative.
If there is no agreement, your tax appeal is certified to Superior Court and the case will be ordered to mediation. At this stage of the appeal, a County attorney is assigned to the case. It is rare, but if there is still no agreement as to the fair market value of your property, the case will go to trial. Especially if you have more than one property, having an attorney represent you at the BOE hearing stage can be a huge benefit.
I’ve been representing taxpayers in Fulton and Dekalb Counties in property tax appeals at all stages for eight years. For someone without experience, it is quite a system to maneuver through, because of course the County does not want to lower your property value. There are many pitfalls and minutiae that discourage or even prevent the taxpayer from exercising their right to appeal. Consider this when filing your appeal. If you think you need legal representation, contact me for a consultation.