Property Owners Can Appeal Assessments Online | Print |

The Fulton County Board of Assessors announced that Annual Notices of Assessment for 2013 have been mailed. Fulton’s Chief Appraiser also announced that this year the Assessors’ office is encouraging all owners that wish to file an appeal do so online.

According to Chief Appraiser David Fitzgibbon there are neighborhoods where values have shown an increase and others where values are still showing slight declines of value. Fitzgibbon says that overall the net taxable value of the tax digest will remain about the same for 2013 as it was for 2012 with adjustments to those areas where the market indicated changes were necessary.

We have acquired new software and instituted new processes that will enable us to process online appeals much faster than in the past. Anyone filing online will receive a confirmation that the appeal has been received and will be assigned a unique tracking number that will enable the appellant to track the progress of their appeal through our website. They will be able to send information regarding their property including documents and comments supporting their opinion of value, and to advise us of any issues regarding the characteristics of the property they feel is incorrect. The appellants can also make offers of settlement, receive messages regarding inquiries and perhaps resolve the appeal more efficiently with less time and expense to both the County and the taxpayers.”

Fitzgibbon estimates that if all appellants file online that the appeals can be processed and could be settled twice as fast as in the past.

Fitzgibbon says one of the largest problems the assessor’s office encounters is when an appeal is received without a reason for the appeal. “We go to great lengths to analyze the market and try and set reasonable values based on what the market indicators are telling us about values. When we do not get any information from the appellant we review our data again and most of the times do not find any compelling reason to change the value. Percentage of increase or decrease is not a legal or valid reason to appeal, and the estimated amount of taxes shown on the notice may have changed for many reasons other than the value.”

Fitzgibbon reports that almost 80% of those appeals filed without any comments regarding the reason for appeal or providing any supporting evidence receive no change at the Board of Assessors’ level and by law are automatically forwarded to the Board of Equalization. “Once the appeal has reached the BOE level the progress slows down due to the large number of appeals and the fact that the appellant must attend the appeal hearing held by the BOE and furnish evidence to the BOE supporting their opinion of value. Failure to attend the hearing with the BOE usually results in no change to the value and then the appellant must file an appeal to superior court or accept the value set by the Board of Assessors. This becomes a real expense in both time and money for both us and the appellant, and usually for no good reason,” Fitzgibbon said, “because we are able to settle almost 90% of those appeals where we are actually able to talk to the appellant or exchange valid information,” says Fitzgibbon.

“If owners will look at the value on the notice based on what the property was worth on January 1st, and truly consider if that value represents what that property would actually sell for in today’s market that he feels most owners will agree that the office has done a good job of estimating fair market value. If there is a problem or difference of opinion on the value we encourage the owners to file an appeal, preferably online, but please give us some idea of why you disagree. We will make every effort to review the data and make changes where they are warranted.”