Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment

June 24, 2012

County tax assessors recently mailed out the annual wave of assessment notices.

The deadline to appeal your property tax assessment in Fulton County is June 28 and DeKalb County is July 13.

One way to file an appeal is to write a letter that includes your name, home address, daytime telephone number, and the parcel identification number for your home. Your parcel identification number can be found on your assessment notice.

Alternatively, you can fill out this form (click for fillable PDF).

With your letter or form, you should enclose documents that show the sale prices or fair market value of comparable homes in and around your neighborhood. One place to find this information is on the popular real estate website Zillow.com.

You’ll also need to state in your letter or form whether you want your appeal to be heard by the Board of Equalization or by an arbitrator.

The Board of Equalization is the preferred process.

The way that arbitration works is that you and the tax assessors will each have a chance to present evidence to support the value that each party has assigned to your property. Based upon the evidence, the arbitrator will choose which value is correct, yours or the tax assessors, on an either-or basis.

You should only choose arbitration if you have a high level of confidence in the value you have assigned to your property and sufficient evidence to prove that your value is closer to the actual value of your home than the value that the tax assessors have chosen. I highly recommend that taxpayers only use the arbitration process if they have obtained an appraisal of their home from a professional property appraiser.

This is because the losing party will have to pay the arbitrator’s fees. If the tax assessors lose, the county pays for the arbitrator, but if you lose, the costs of arbitration are your responsibility.

If you are less confident in the value you believe is correct, you should choose to have your appeal heard by the Board of Equalization. Win or lose, the Board of Equalization process is at no cost to the taxpayer.

For Fulton County appeals, you should mail or hand-deliver your appeal letter or form to the Fulton County Board of Assessors, 141 Pryor Street, Suite 2052, Atlanta, GA 30303. Your Fulton County appeal must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than June 28.

The Fulton County Board of Assessors office can be reached at (404) 612-6440.

For DeKalb County appeals, you should mail or hand-deliver your appeal letter or form to the DeKalb County Property Appraisal Department at 120 West Trinity Place, Room 208, Decatur, GA 30030. Your DeKalb County appeal must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than July 13.

The DeKalb County Property Appraisal Department can be reached at (404) 371-2471 or (404) 371-0841.

State law gives you the right for the fair market value of your property to be the assessed value of your property and not a penny more. If this isn’t the case, you should appeal it.

If your appeal is successful, your reduced property valuation will be set for the current tax year and two years thereafter (three years total).


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