Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does filing a Property Tax Return appeal my valuation?

Q: How do I dispute/appeal my 2014 valuation?

Q. Why did I receive an Annual Notice of Current Assessment? Is this a bill?

Q: My property appraisal went down. Will my taxes decrease too?

Q: Who determines the value of my property?

Q: Can I appeal my valuation via e-mail or facsimile (fax)?

Q: What happens once I appeal my valuation?

Q: On the New Appeal Form, I must select an organization that will help me resolve my appeal. What is the difference between the Board of Equalization, Arbitration & Hearing Officer?

Q: Where can I get information regarding the comparables used to determine my property value.

Q: What does NBHD mean?

Q: Why are the appraisal staff members conducting field visits in my neighborhood?

Q: How do you know if my property is at Fair Market Value?

Q: What are the predominant changes effecting the 2014 tax year?


Q: Does filing a Property Tax Return appeal my valuation?

A: Property Tax Returns are not considered an appeal. Please visit our website to file an appeal if you do not agree with the information on your Annual Notice of Assessment.


Q: How do I dispute/appeal my new 2014 valuation?

A: The time in which you can appeal your property value expires 45 days after a Notice of Assessment is issued. The majority of notices were issued in April 2014 and the right to appeal expired May 2014. Please check your Assessment Notice date if you think you may still have appeal rights.


Q. Why did I receive an Annual Notice of Current Assessment? Is this a bill?

A: Georgia law requires that the County Board of Tax Assessors provides an Annual Notice of Assessment to the owner of residential or commercial property subject to property taxation. An Annual Notice of Assessment is not a tax bill. The notice informs the property owner of the fair market value as calculated by Board of Tax Assessors and the appraisal staff, as well as provides the property owner the assessed value (40 percent of the fair market value) of their property (O.C.G.A. 48-5-7). The annual property tax bill will be based on the assessed value (40 percent of the fair market value) unless subsequently adjusted following an appeal.


Property owners can view their Annual Notice of Assessment by visiting the  Filing Made Easy .webpage 
Q: My property appraisal went down. Will my taxes decrease too?

A:  The Tax Commissioner’s Office calculates tax bills, exemptions, and fees for all property. Your property value is only one part of the calculation that generates your tax bill. The Tax Commissioner’s Office cannot create an accurate bill until the Board of Commissioners has adopted both the 2014 budget and the 2014 millage rate. The tax bill may also be reduced by any exemptions that are applied. Please contact the Tax Commissioner’s Office for further information about your tax bill 770.822.8800.


Q: Who determines the value of my property?

A: The Gwinnett County Board of Tax Assessors’ appraisal staff determines your property value based on recent sales (including bank sales) and market conditions. The appraisers use three different approaches to value property:

  • The Sales Comparison Approach is based on the sales prices of comparable property.
  • The Cost Approach is based on the estimated costs of replacement or reproduction of structures, less accumulated depreciation, plus the value of the land.
  • The Income Approach is based on the capitalization of income generated by the property.

Q: Can I appeal my valuation via email or fax?

A: The time to file a Residential and Commercial Property appeal for 2014 ended May 19, 2014. During that time property owners were unable to file an appeal via fax, but the Tax Assessors Office did accept appeals via email.


Q: What happens once I appeal my valuation?

A: As soon as your appeal is received, the following will happen:

  • The appraisal staff will review your appeal.
  • If the appraisal staff elects to make a change in your valuation, you will receive another written Change of Assessment Notice called a 30-day notice.  If you are dissatisfied with the revised appraisal, you have 30 days to appeal the revised appraised value to the Board of Equalization (BOE). By responding that you do not accept the changes, your information will be forwarded to the Clerk of Courts to schedule your hearing.  The Clerk of Courts will notify you by mail your scheduled hearing date.  You must be present and prepared for the hearing.
  • If the appraisal staff does not make any adjustment in your appraisal, you will be notified that your appeal will be forwarded to the next level based on your selected hearing type.
  • The Clerk of Courts will notify you by mail when you are scheduled for your hearing.
  • When the date and time of the hearing arrives, you will have an opportunity to present your case. The County appraiser will also attend the hearing and will present supporting documentation concerning the County’s appraisal of your property. The County’s appraisal is based on market and cost information occurring between January 1 and December 31 of the prior calendar year. At the end of a hearing, both you and the county appraiser may stay for the deliberations between the Board of Equalization members, but you and the county appraiser must refrain from presenting any further evidence or discussion. The Board of Equalization then deliberates privately and makes a decision. Both you and the Board of Assessors will be notified in writing of the official ruling.

If you are dissatisfied with the Board of Equalization/Hearing Officer ruling, you can appeal to the next level in Superior Court.  Arbitration rulings cannot be appealed to Superior Court.


Q: What is the difference between the Board of Equalization, Arbitration & Hearing Officer?

A: The Board of Equalization

  • The Board of Tax Assessors will review your appeal. Adjustments may be made or the appeal may be forwarded to the Board of Equalization. The taxpayer will be notified via U.S. mail of any adjustment or forwarding of the appeal.
  • The Board of Equalization consists of five panels each having three-persons appointed by the Grand Jury.
  • The clerk of Superior Court has oversight authority of the Board of Equalization.
  • The Board of Equalization is charged with listening to the valuation evidence presented by both parties (the property owner and the Tax Assessors’ Office) at a scheduled hearing.
  • After the hearing the panel will render a decision, which may be appealed by either party into Superior Court.
  • There is no additional cost to the taxpayer for a Board of Equalization hearing.

B: Arbitration

  • An appeal of value may be filed to arbitration by filing your appeal specifying arbitration with the Board of Assessors within 45 days of the date of the notice.
  • The taxpayer must submit a $204 check for the filing fees of the Superior Court and certified appraisal of the subject property within 45 days of the filing of the notice of appeal. The appraisal must be signed by a licensed appraiser and reflect an appraisal date close to January 1 of the tax year.
  • The Board of Assessors may accept the value indicated in the appraisal or reject it.
  • If the taxpayer's appraisal is rejected, the Board of Assessors will certify the appeal to the County clerk of Superior Court for arbitration. The arbitration will be authorized by the judge, an appointed arbitrator, and a hearing scheduled within 30 days.
  • Both the taxpayer's appraisal and the assessor's appraisal will be submitted to the appointed arbitrator. The arbitrator may schedule a hearing.
  • The arbitrator will issue a decision at the conclusion of the hearing, which is final and may not be appealed further.
  • If the taxpayer's value is chosen by the arbitrator to be the true value, the County is responsible for the clerk of the Superior Court's fees and the fees and costs of the arbitrator.
  • If the Assessors' value is chosen by the arbitrator to be the true value, the taxpayer is responsible for the clerk of the superior court's fees and the fees and costs the arbitrator. These costs can be substantial, $204 filing fees + $400 (est.) = $604.

C: Hearing Officer

  • Only appeals made on the basis of value can be appealed to a hearing office.
  • Only non-homestead real property where the value is equal to or greater than $1 million qualifies for an appeal to a hearing officer.
  • The clerk of Superior Court will appoint a hearing officer from an approved list of appraisers. Hearing officers are either state-certified general real property appraisers or state-certified residential real property appraisers as classified by the Georgia Real Estate Commission and the Georgia Real Estate Appraisers Board, and who have received the necessary training by the Georgia Real Estate Appraises Board.
  • The decision of the hearing officer may be appealed into Superior Court by either party.
The County will pay for the services of the hearing officer, although the taxpayer is responsible for any additional costs they choose to encounter, such as legal representation and appraisal fees. 
Q: Where can I get information regarding the comparables used to determine my property value.
A: Property ownership transfer prices are available online by visiting the Tax Assessors’ homepage, the Filing Made Easy webpage or view the GIS/Property Search page for a comparable sale report.

Q: What does NBHD mean?

A: NBHD is an acronym for the word neighborhood. Within the context of the mass appraisal process, NBHD is defined as a group of similar houses or properties that behave or act the same way in the real estate market. Often manmade or natural boundaries separate NBHDs, but the boundaries do not preclude appraisal staff from including properties in NBHDs that are outside the confines of the manmade or natural boundary.


Q: Why are the appraisal staff members conducting field visits in my neighborhood?
A: The appraisal staff of the Gwinnett County Tax Assessors’ Office visits properties throughout the year as part of a routine County process. The visits are completed by either a County appraiser or a contracted appraiser from the companies of LMC or CLT. Each of the appraisers displays a Gwinnett County photo ID.

These visits include verifying existing or new construction data and can include obtaining exterior measurements and taking photos of the property. The appraiser may ask simple and brief questions concerning the property.

During the inspection of residential property, the appraisers will knock on the door to announce their presence and introduce themselves before beginning an exterior review of the property. All communications may occur through your locked door. There is no requirement for an interior inspection of your property. Our appraisers will not request entrance. When no one is available to meet with the appraiser, information will be left to advise you of our visit. Thank you for allowing us to ensure the accuracy of our records.

Q: How do you know if my property is at Fair Market Value?

A: Value studies are conducted as prescribed by the Georgia Department of Revenue. All residential and commercial real property subject to property taxes is classified and studied in either neighborhood (NBHDs) groups or in property use and type classifications. Residential properties are grouped and studied in neighborhoods while income producing property is grouped by property use and type classifications. A recent undistressed sale is generally accepted as the best indicator of fair market value. Each grouping of properties has a sample of properties that sold during the preceding calendar year. The appraisal staff compares the sale price of the properties to the County's appraised values. If the county has significantly higher or lower values on a group of properties that is an indication that the group needs to be revalued. Values can be adjusted upward or downward. When establishing new values, all approaches to value are considered (cost, market, and income) and applied as relevant. Necessary adjustments will be made to the group of the properties in the study to bring the whole group in line with the market. In that process some properties will be increased, some will be decreased, and some may not change as the uniformity of the whole neighborhood or property use and type classification is pertinent. Any property that had a sale in the preceding year (January 1 through December 31) is adjusted to that sale price for the current tax year.


Q. What are the predominant changes effecting the 2014 tax year?

The Residential and Commercial Property Tax Return became optional in 2011. In prior years, taxpayers were required to file a Property Tax Return (form PT-50R) in order to receive an Annual Notice of Assessment. The issuance of the Annual Notice of Assessment then allowed the taxpayer the option to appeal the value of their property.

However, Georgia law now states that an Annual Notice of Assessment must be mailed to all taxable property owners. This ensures that all property owners receive the right to appeal the information/value on the notice if they choose to exercise their right during the 45-day appeal period.

The Annual Notice of Assessment now conforms to a new form created by the Georgia Department of Revenue for use on a statewide basis. The new notice is required to contain an estimate of the estimated property taxes using the prior year millage rate and the current value listed on the Notice of Assessment.

  • The 2014 tax value shall not exceed the 2013 acquisition or purchase price from a qualifying arm's length transaction, plus any improvements made since the time of acquisition.
  • Taxpayers now have 45 days from the date of the Annual Notice of Assessment to file a property tax appeal. New laws in 2011 provided two new appeal choices in addition to the Board Of Equalization and Superior Court:
  •  
    • Arbitration: A filing fee and current Narrative Appraisal is submitted within 45 days of filing an appeal.
    • Hearing Officer: For non-homestead properties having a value of more than $1 million.
Notes:
The Board of Equalization will remain free and is most commonly selected. Taxpayers may still choose to appeal through the Board of Equalization as in the past, but the Board has new oversight – The Clerk of Superior Court.