Property Management Blog

Atlanta Landlord Advice Investment Property Tax Appeals

FourandHalf Blog Post - Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our topic today is the property tax appeal process in Georgia. This is an important topic because property taxes are usually your number one expense after your mortgage. A lot of people just pay those taxes without giving them much thought, but it pays to know you can fight those taxes and drive down the amount you pay. This will affect your bottom line.

In Georgia, everyone must file a property tax return annually, between January 1 and April 1. You file a PT50R form. The problem is that not all homeowners know this. When you don’t file your PT50R, you are accepting by default the value the government places on your property. That’s fine if the value is correct, but if it’s off, you’ll have to spend a lot more money in property taxes than you should. Many times, the assessed value of your home is nowhere near its actual value. This is especially true in today’s economic climate, when many homes are still trying to rebound in value from the housing crisis.

Assessors assign value to your property in one of three ways. They use uniformity, a sales comparison including properties around you, and a level of income achieved by your home if it’s a rental property. In the appeals process, people generally don’t use the income approach. Using uniformity or the sales cost and comparison is what we always recommend. Uniformity simply means that your property is assessed evenly or with the same guidelines as those properties around you. Many times, they aren’t assessed uniformly, so you have a case to be made. The sales approach is the most popular one. This is especially true since the legislature passed a law two years ago that says foreclosed properties have to be given equal weight in that sales comparison model.

Filing the PT50R gives you an extra bite of the apple. Right now, if you file it by April, the tax assessor will look at your property and assess it for value. Normally, they don’t do that. They prefer to accept the listed value. Filing your return forces them to really look at it and place a true value on your property.

Once your paperwork is filed, they will contact you and let you know if they agree or disagree with the value you returned. This is a place where you might gain a little even if they disagree with you. For example, your property could be assessed at $100,000. You’ll return your PT50R saying your property is actually worth $50,000. If they don’t want to go down to $50,000, they might at least come down to maybe $80,000. That’s a gain for you. You got money back just by asking.

Your next step could be to file an appeal. At that point, you will go before the County Board of Equalization to get another chance at having your property accurately valued. At this point, the tax assessor will probably take another look in order to avoid the work that’s involved in appearing before the Board. It may help you to have the Board make a determination instead of the tax assessor.

This is a process that can become complicated, but we recommend you go through it for your property. There are lots of rules and regulations involved, so if you have questions, please contact us at Title One Management.
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Title One Management, LLC
GA Firm Lic # H-66924
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Kennesaw, GA 30144

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