Tips for Property Assessment Appeals

July 9, 2014

A week ago, I held a town hall meeting at Chamblee First United Methodist Church. The subject matter was how to appeal your property assessment. You can read about the meeting in the Dunwoody Crier and Brookhaven Reporter. We had about 150 chairs. Every chair was filled, and the meeting was standing room only.

The high attendance was a symptom that our community has been hit especially hard this year with property assessment hikes. It’s summertime, and I recognize that some residents who would like to appeal their assessments were not able to attend the meeting. I have compiled this summary of some of the information shared in the meeting. I hope you will forward it to your neighbors, some of whom may not have been able to attend. The advice given in this e-mail is more detailed and less generic than you will find elsewhere.

There are two main grounds for appealing your property assessment: fair market value and uniformity. Fair market value is what it sounds like. You should review comparable properties that sold in and around your neighborhood to determine the price at which a willing buyer would purchase your property. You have a legal right for the 100% assessed value of your property — the relevant value for purposes of your appeal — to equal its fair market value.

Please note that the tax assessor only considers sales that occurred during the 2013 calendar year (January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013) to determine the fair market value of your property for 2014 tax purposes. Sales before January 1, 2013 and after December 31, 2013 will not be considered. The best place to find 2013 sales is Zillow.com. Search the yellow “recently sold” properties from 1/1/13 to 12/31/13.

The other basis for an appeal is uniformity. The calculation used by the tax assessor is a bit more complicated than this, but as a shorthand, if the properties in your neighborhood are of a similar type and are on similar tracts of land (1/4 acre, 1/3 acre, 1/2 acre, etc.), then the assessed value per square foot for your home should be the same as the others in your neighborhood.

To determine if you have a uniformity appeal, use the tax assessor’s website in your county (DeKalb or Fulton) to search the other houses on your street or in your neighborhood:

DeKalb County Property Appraisal Search

Fulton County Property Appraisal Search

The tax assessor’s record for each house will show a 100% assessed value and total square footage. For each house, divide the 100% assessed value by the total square footage. Then, average the “assessed value per square foot” results for your entire street or neighborhood. If your house is above the average, multiply the average by your house’s square footage and request that amount as your 100% assessed value.

The Georgia Department of Revenue provides a useful form for your appeal, which you can use with any county tax assessor. To create your appeal package, it’s best to use this form and attach a narrative explanation and supporting documents to the completed form:

Georgia Department of Revenue Property Appeal Form

Even if you are only appealing fair market value or uniformity, be sure to check both “value” and “uniformity” in case you ultimately would like to argue both of these grounds before the Board of Equalization. The type of appeal you are filing is a “real” property appeal. Although there is an arbitration process you can use, there are potential costs to it, so I highly recommend that you check the box for a “BOE” appeal which will send your appeal to the Board of Equalization.

DeKalb County property appeals must be postmarked no later than Monday, July 14. Fulton County appeals must be postmarked no later than Monday, July 21. Below are the mailing addresses for the DeKalb or Fulton office to which you should send your appeal. I also have included their telephone numbers in case you have any questions:

DeKalb County Property Appraisal Department
120 West Trinity Place, Room 208
Decatur, GA, 30030
(404) 371-0841

Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors
141 Pryor Street, Suite 2052
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 612-6440

The tax assessor will review your appeal and send you a response letter letting you know if they have decided to grant a reduction in value. If they don’t grant a reduction, you have the right to go before the Board of Equalization. If they grant a reduction, you nevertheless can choose to go before the Board of Equalization.

You may want to continue to the Board of Equalization even if you are satisfied with the reduced value from the tax assessor. A reduction given by the tax assessor lasts for the current tax year only. A reduction awarded by the Board of Equalization last for three years, the current tax year plus two more. You can start your Board of Equalization hearing by noting the lower value that the tax assessor gave you. Sometimes the tax assessor will agree to that value right there on the spot and it will be formalized in the decision of the Board of Equalization.

Here are four additional tips for your Board of Equalization hearing:

1. You have the right to review the tax assessor’s comparable properties and other documents before entering the hearing room. You also can request the documents in writing prior to your hearing. Avail yourself of this opportunity.

2. Each side will present their case to the Board of Equalization. Often, the tax assessor’s representative will sit silently and let you go first. Request that the tax assessor present their case first, so you can respond to it.

3. The Board of Equalization should be comprised of three citizen members. Sometimes they are short-handed and might request to proceed with two members. Insist on three.

4. Bring five copies of your appeal documents with you to the hearing, one copy for each member of the Board of Equalization, one for you and one for the tax assessor’s representative.


Town Hall Meeting on Property Assessment Appeals

June 24, 2014

Please join me and Senator Fran Millar for a town hall meeting on Tuesday, July 1, at 7:00 p.m. at Chamblee First United Methodist Church, 4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, which is located south of I-285 and north of Harts Mill Road.

Our community has been hit especially hard with property assessment increases for the 2014 tax year. At this meeting, we will explain in detail how to properly file an appeal. There is more to the appeal process than simply sending a letter that you disagree with your assessment on the basis of fair market value. However, if armed with the right information, it is a process that homeowners can handle on their own.

The deadline for DeKalb County property assessment appeals is July 14. Fulton County appeals are due July 21.

We also will discuss state and local issues.


Fulton County Call to Action

June 17, 2014

I am passing along this message from my colleague, State Rep. Lynne Riley (R-Johns Creek). I urge my Sandy Springs constituents to contact Chairman John Eaves as requested in Rep. Riley’s message:

“On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners will be voting on a 17% property tax rate increase. In 2013, The Georgia General Assembly approved House Bill 604, sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, which prohibited the Fulton County Commission from enacting a tax increase in 2014. Contrary to law, the Fulton County Commission has taken preliminary action to move forward to increase property taxes.

Fulton County citizens must call Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves immediately and request that he vote NO on a proposed 17% property tax rate increase before the Commission votes on Wednesday, June 18th. Chairman Eaves may be reached at 404-612-8206 or by email to John.Eaves@FultonCountyGA.gov.

Let’s rally the taxpayers of Fulton County to demand that the Fulton County Commission rejects a property tax increase in 2014!”


Thank You!

May 21, 2014

Thank you for your support in yesterday’s Republican primary for State House District 80, covering Brookhaven, Chamblee and Sandy Springs. The final tally was 75% to 25%.

As I look back on 10 years of public service, I am grateful for the friendships and trust we’ve built. Our community is an outstanding place to live and work. Evan and I are proud to raise our family in Brookhaven. I am proud to practice law from a modest office in Sandy Springs.

Looking ahead, I am optimistic that the financial turnaround at MARTA slowly but surely will enable us to transform the agency into something that reaches beyond the confines of Fulton and DeKalb counties. It is also time to clean up DeKalb County’s tarnished reputation and diminish the size and scope of the Fulton County government.

Not every race on the primary election ballot ended yesterday. The Republican primary for U.S. Senate features a runoff between Jack Kingston and David Perdue. The DeKalb sheriff’s race pits Vernon Jones against the incumbent, Jeff Mann. The sheriff controls a large budget and has the ability to award contracts. A wise choice is essential. The runoff will be Tuesday, July 22.

I congratulate Catherine Bernard on a hard-fought campaign. She hails from the Liberty Caucus, a newer group within the Republican Party. I am hopeful we can find a way to work together. Although engaged citizens may disagree from time to time, what is great about our community is that we listen to each other and find common ground where possible.

Thanks again for your vote of confidence. Please contact me at (404) 590-7377 or repjacobs@gmail.com if I can assist with anything.

Onward and upward.


Election Day is Here

May 19, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, is primary election day. Your regular polling place will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

I am running in a contested Republican primary race for State House District 80. There will not be a November general election contest in our district. Tomorrow decides the election.

I respectfully ask for your vote.

We’ve accomplished a great deal in recent years, most notably the incorporation of Brookhaven and privatization and financial turnaround of MARTA, but there remains work to be done.

I plan to keep pushing to make the ten-year DeKalb County property tax assessment freeze (expires in 2016) a permanent measure, and to reduce the size and scope of the Fulton County government through a doubling of the Fulton homestead exemption. Both measures came close to passing in the current two-year term.

Please note there have been some voting precinct changes for this election:

- Some voters who live in the City of Brookhaven and used to vote at Montgomery Elementary will now be voting at the Kittredge Magnet School, 1663 East Nancy Creek Drive.

- All other voters who live in the City of Brookhaven and vote at Montgomery Elementary have been temporarily relocated to the Cross & Crown Lutheran Church, 4276 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, while Montgomery is undergoing renovations.

- All voters who live in the City of Chamblee and used to vote at the Kittredge Magnet School or Huntley Hills Elementary will now be voting at the Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street.

Because this precinct shuffle is a bit confusing, you may want to use the Georgia Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” to find your correct polling location:

mvp.sos.state.ga.us

Here are some other voting resources that you may find helpful:

DeKalb County Republican Sample Ballot
DeKalb County Democratic Sample Ballot
DeKalb County Nonpartisan Sample Ballot
Fulton County Republican Sample Ballot 1 of 2
Fulton County Republican Sample Ballot 2 of 2
Fulton County Democratic Sample Ballot 1 of 2
Fulton County Democratic Sample Ballot 2 of 2
Fulton County Nonpartisan Sample Ballot
Georgia Secretary of State “My Voter Page”
League of Women Voters/AJC Voter’s Guide
Brookhaven Reporter Voter’s Guide
Sandy Springs Reporter Voter’s Guide
Brookhaven Post Voter’s Guide

When election day is done tomorrow, I hope you will join me, my wife Evan and our supporters to celebrate and watch the results at the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub in Town Brookhaven off Peachtree Road starting at 7:00 p.m.

If you have one of my signs in your yard, please leave it there through Thursday. As promised, my campaign staff will be picking up all yard signs on Wednesday and Thursday.

Thank you very much for the privilege of serving you.


“Silly Season” is in Full Swing

May 16, 2014

They call the time period right before an election “silly season.” Today my opponent in the May 20th Republican primary election delivered a last-minute, desperate attack mailer. The mailer is filled with bizarre falsehoods and distortions.

For example, my opponent claims I sponsored legislation to “censor” (her word) citizens at city council meetings. I never sponsored any such legislation. It simply doesn’t exist.

She also claims I voted to fund Obamacare. I actually voted for legislation that does exactly the opposite, curtailing the financial drain of Obamacare on our state government.

Incredibly, she states that I damaged financial accountability at MARTA. No single legislator has a stronger record of pushing MARTA to privatize key aspects of its operations and cut costs.

The misrepresentations in this mailer are too numerous to address. The list goes on and on. I just wanted to make sure you’re aware that you are not being told the truth.


Final Week of Early Voting

May 12, 2014

This week is the final week of early voting for the upcoming primary election. You can vote Monday, May 12, through Friday, May 16, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For DeKalb County voters, the location closest to our community is the Chamblee Civic Center. For Fulton County voters, it is the Sandy Springs Public Library.

Below is a complete list of North DeKalb and Sandy Springs early voting locations. At the bottom of this message, you will find links to helpful sample ballots and voter guides.

DeKalb Early Voting (Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)

Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee 30341

Tucker Recreation Center, 4898 LaVista Road, Tucker 30084

DeKalb Voter Registration & Elections Office, 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur 30032

Fulton Early Voting (Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)

Sandy Springs Public Library, 395 Mount Vernon Hwy, Sandy Springs 30328

North Fulton Service Center, 7741 Roswell Road, Room 128,
Sandy Springs 30350

Helpful Voting Links

DeKalb County Republican Sample Ballot
DeKalb County Democratic Sample Ballot
DeKalb County Nonpartisan Sample Ballot
Fulton County Republican Sample Ballot 1 of 2
Fulton County Republican Sample Ballot 2 of 2
Fulton County Democratic Sample Ballot 1 of 2
Fulton County Democratic Sample Ballot 2 of 2
Fulton County Nonpartisan Sample Ballot
Georgia Secretary of State “My Voter Page”
League of Women Voters/AJC Voter’s Guide
Brookhaven Reporter Voter’s Guide
Sandy Springs Reporter Voter’s Guide
Brookhaven Post Voter’s Guide


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