Lower Your DeKalb County Tax Bill in 2010

Winbrooke Lane Home For Sale
Winbrooke Lane Home For Sale

Are You Paying Too Much DeKalb County Property TAX? Does the County tax appraiser think your home is worth more than it ought to be?  Tax appraisals are way behind the market place right now.  Turbulence in the Atlanta real estate market has lowered the market values of most homes by 5 to 20% in the past couple of years.  If your home has not been re-appraised by the tax appraiser you are probably paying too much.  Even if your home has been re-appraised by the tax appraiser, you are probably paying too much property tax.

AJC Study Shows Metro Atlanta Tax Appraisals are Higher Than Present Market Values

A recent study by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution shows home values in DeKalb County (and other metro Atlanta Counties) are way below present values assigned by the tax appraiser.  Tax appraisers, like the rest of us, had become accustomed to an increase in property values year over year.  For the first time in 2009, some tax appraisals were adjusted Downward.  But, the AJC found most tax appraisals did not take in to account the most recent sales in a neighborhood.  And particularly, many foreclosures were ignored in creation of tax values for your property.

STATE LAW Requires Tax Appraisals Be Made at the Market. Why is it a problem if your tax appraisal is too high?  Your homes tax appraisal determines how much tax you pay.  And your home’s tax appraisal is by state law required to be at present market value.  What homes on your street sold for in the past 6 months largely determines the value of your home.  These sales are called comparables and appraisers use them to value your home.

FILE A PROPERTY TAX RETURN BY MARCH 1st Deadline. You have to file a property tax return to be eligible to dispute the tax appraisal of your home.  The deadline for filing a Property tax return is March 1st in DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties.  It is April 1 in Most other Counties.


Send the form in to your County Tax Assessor or your County Tax  Commissioner (CALL YOUR COUNTY OFFICE AFTER JAN 1 for clarification)by the deadline.  I ALWAYS SEND THIS TYPE LETTER BY CERTIFIED MAIL!

Appeals may only be filed in response to a Notice of Assessment Change. If you did NOT receive a Notice of Assessment Change, you do not have a legal appeal for this year. Please contact our office in January of next year for instructions on filing a Property Tax Return, which will initiate the appeal process for next year.

NOTE: “Section C asks you to list last year’s “fair market value” on your land and on your house. Then it asks you to list the value of the land and the house this year. This is where you tell the county the value of your property has gone down.” Instructions from AJC

Castlehill Court home for sale

DeKalb County

Gwinnett County

Cobb County

Fulton County

 You are not done: YOU STILL HAVE TO FILE AN APPEAL “The assessor reviews your return and decides whether it reflects your property value. Usually you will receive a response between April and June.

If the county turns you down, you have the right to appeal. This gets a little tricky, but … you also have the right to appeal if the county reappraises your property (whether you filed a return or not). But if the county doesn’t reappraise, and you didn’t file a return, you can’t appeal. This didn’t matter so much when tax valuations often were lower than actual value. Now, however, tax values are often greater than what your house is worth, which means you’ll be paying too much in taxes. So it’s in your interest to file a return.”   AJC

NOT ALL PROPERTIES ARE OVER VALUED. My personal home looks ok on the tax appraisers website.  I am not going to appeal.  However several of my investment properties have appraised values that need to be appealed.

Call Your County Tax Assessors Office. I find most of the folks working in the County Tax offices to be pretty helpful.  They are usually overworked and don’t have a lot of extra time.  So, be concise with your questions and they will get you an answer.