When Filing an Appeal
Georgia law provides a procedure for filing property tax returns and property tax appeals at the county level.
Taxpayers may file a property tax return (declaration of value) in one of two ways, by:
- paying taxes in the prior year on their property the value which was the basis for tax becomes the declaration of value for the current tax year (O.C.G.A. 48-5-20), or
- filing a PT-50R, PT50P, PT50A or PT50M return of value between January 1 and April 1. In some counties property tax returns are filed with the county tax commissioner and in other counties returns are filed with the county board of tax assessor
Annual Assessment Notice The county board of tax assessors must send an annual assessment notice which gives the taxpayer information on filing an appeal on real property (such as land and buildings affixed to the land). If the county board of tax assessors disagrees with the taxpayer’s return on personal property (such as airplanes, boats or business equipment and inventory), the board must send an assessment notice which gives the taxpayer information on filing an appeal.
45 Days to Appeal Upon receipt of this Assessment Notice, the property owner that wants to appeal their assessment may do so within 45 days of the date the Assessment Notice was mailed. The taxpayer’s appeal may be based on:
- taxability, value, uniformity,
- and/or the denial of an exemption.
The written appeal is filed with the County Board of Tax Assessors.
The State of Georgia provides a uniform appeal form for use by property owners. In that initial written dispute, the property owner must declare their chosen method of appeal.
To protect your appeal rights, you must file your appeal with the County Board of Tax Assessors. Do not send your appeal form to the Department of Revenue. If the Board has adopted a written policy to accept electronic service, you may email an appeal to the board of assessors.
Taxpayer must select one of three options
The taxpayer must select one of the three options below when filing an appeal:
Appeal to the County Board of Equalization The appeal based on value, uniformity, taxability or denial of exemption is filed by the property owner and reviewed by the board of assessors. The board of assessors may change the assessment and send a new notice. The property owner may appeal the assessment in the amended notice within 30 days. This second appeal made by the property owner or any initial appeal which is not amended by the board of assessors is automatically forwarded to the Board of Equalization. A hearing is scheduled and conducted and the Board of Equalization renders its decision at the conclusion of the hearing. If the taxpayer is still dissatisfied, an appeal to Superior Court may be made.
- Appeal to a Hearing Officer The taxpayer may appeal to a Hearing Officer, who is a state certified general real property or state certified residential real property appraiser and is approved as a hearing officer by the Georgia Real Estate Commission and the Georgia Real Estate Appraiser Board, when the issue of the appeal is the value or uniformity of value of non-homestead real property, but only when the value is greater than $500,000. If the taxpayer is still dissatisfied with the decision of the hearing officer, an appeal to Superior Court may be made.
- Appeal to an Arbitrator An appeal of value may be filed to Arbitration by filing an appeal specifying Arbitration with the board of assessors within 45 days of the date of the notice. The Board of Assessors must notify the taxpayer of the receipt of the arbitration appeal within 10 days. The taxpayer must submit a certified appraisal of the subject property within 45 days of the date of transmittal of the acknowledgment of receipt of the appeal which the board of assessors may accept or reject. If the taxpayer’s appraisal is rejected the board of assessors must certify the appeal to the appeal administrator for arbitration. The arbitration is authorized by the presiding or chief judge of superior court and a hearing is scheduled within 30 days. The arbitrator will issue a decision at the conclusion of the hearing, which may be further appealed to superior court. If the taxpayer's value is closest to the fair market value determined by the arbitrator, the county shall be responsible for the fees and costs of such arbitrator. If the value of the board of tax assessors is closest to the fair market value determined by the arbitrator, the taxpayer shall be responsible for the fees and costs of such arbitrator.
Written Notice of Appeal must be Filed within 30 days to the County Board of Tax Assessors Once a decision has been made by the county board of equalization, hearing officer, or arbitrator the taxpayer may appeal their decision to the superior court of the county by mailing or filing with the county board of tax assessors a written notice of appeal. The written notice of appeal should be mailed or filed within 30 days from which the decision of the county board of equalization, hearing officer, or arbitrator was mailed or hand delivered.
Ad valorem Taxes must be Paid Before the superior court can hear an appeal, the ad valorem taxes must be paid in an amount equal to the last year in which taxes were determined to be due. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-29)
Settlement Conference Within 45 days of receipt of a taxpayer's notice of appeal the county board of tax assessors shall send to the taxpayer notice that a settlement conference, in which the county board of tax assessors and the taxpayer shall confer in good faith, shall be held no later than 30 days from the notice of the settlement conference. If at the conclusion of the settlement conference the parties fail to agree on a fair market value, the county board of assessors shall provide written notice to the taxpayer that the filing fees must be paid by the taxpayer to the clerk of the superior court within 20 days of the date of the conference.
Notification of Certification of Notice of Appeal to Clerk of Superior Court Within 30 days of receipt of proof of payment to the clerk of the superior court, the county board of tax assessors shall certify to the clerk of the superior court the notice of appeal and any other papers specified by the person appealing.
Appeal Heard by Superior Court In most cases the appeal will be heard before a jury at the first term of court unless questions of law are at issue in the appeal.
Property Owner Could Recover Court Costs and Fees If the final determination of value on appeal is 85 percent or less of the valuation set by the county board of equalization, hearing officer, or arbitrator as to any real property, the taxpayer, in addition to the interest provided for in subsection (m) of Code section 48-5-311, shall recover costs of litigation and reasonable attorney's fees incurred in the action. Any appeal of an award of attorney's fees by the county shall be specifically approved by the governing authority of the county.
You should contact the County Board of Tax assessor's office for more information on property assessment values and appealing a property assessment.