Q: Does filing a Property Tax Return appeal my valuation?
A:A Property Tax Return is not considered to be a Property 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 2015 valuation?
A: You have 45 days after a Notice of Assessment is issued to dispute your 2015 valuation by filing an Appeal. The majority of the Annual Notice of Assessments will be issued in April 2015, and the right to appeal will expire in 45 days from the notice date.
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 provide 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 our Filing Made Easy webpage once the Annual
Notice of Assessment have been mailed in April 2015.
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 2015 budget and the 2015 millage
rate. The tax bill may also be reduced by any exemptions that are applied. Please
contact the Tax Commissioner’s Office for more information about your tax bill at
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: We are unable to accept
property appeals by fax or email. The Tax Assessors Office accepts property
appeals electronically on line, by USPS, or in person at our office located on
the first floor of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.
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.
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 among 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 by 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.
- 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 $206 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 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 filing fees for the Clerk of the Superior Court and the cost the arbitrator if the arbitrator sides with the County. These costs may be substantial; $206 filing fees and the cost of the arbitrator. Please contact the Clerk of Superior Court for estimates on arbitrator costs.
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 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 Tyler
Technologies. 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 either in
neighborhood (NBHD) 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 non-distressed
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, this 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 2015 tax year?
A: 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 allowed the taxpayer the option to appeal the value of their property.
However, Georgia law enacted in 2011 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 based on the information/value on the notice, during the 45-day appeal period.
The Annual Notice of Assessment form was created by the Georgia Department of Revenue and is used on a statewide basis. The notice is required to contain estimated property taxes using the prior year millage rate and the current value listed on the Notice of Assessment.
The 2015 tax value shall not exceed the 2014 acquisition or purchase price from a qualifying arm's length transaction.
Taxpayers have 45 days from the date of the Annual Notice of Assessment to file a property tax appeal. State law provides four appeal proceeding avenues:
- Board of Equalization
- 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.
- Superior Court, with approval of the Board of Assessors
Note: The Board of Equalization will remain free and is most commonly selected.