July 25 is property tax assessment deadline

by Sarah Fay Campbell

Coweta County property owners received their 2013 property tax assessments several weeks ago.

If you don't like the value that the county has put on your property, you have less than two weeks left to appeal it.

The standard deadline for real estate appeals is July 25, said Mike Marchese, chief appraiser and director of the Coweta Board of Assessors.

Some properties may have a different deadline, which will be noted on the assessment notice, Marchese said. The deadline for personal property appeals is Aug. 1.

Thanks to a state law change a few years ago, all property owners get an assessment notice each year, whether or not their value has changed.

If you didn't get a notice for some reason, you may contact the assessors office to find out why.

If you bought property this year you won't have received an assessment notice, because notices go to the owner of record as of Jan. 1. But you can still appeal the value. Just contact the assessors office for more information, at 770-254-2680.

Appealing is a fairly simple process. You can download a blank appeals form from www.etax.dor.ga.gov . Or you can get one from the Coweta Tax Assessors Office that is "pre-populated" with your specific property information.

The process is made easier for everybody if you indicate what you think the value should be.

"I've always said, if you know what it's not worth, you've got to have some idea of what it is worth," said Marchese. If you've recently had it appraised, have some other documentation of the value, or the house has been on market, that is helpful information.

You also have to pick how you want to appeal. For the vast majority of people, you want to choose "board of equalization." It's totally free, and can be used for any type of appeal.

The types include valuation, uniformity, taxability, exemption denied, breach of covenant and denial of covenant. An appeal based on uniformity means that you don't feel your property is being valued in the same manner as comparable properties.

You can also choose arbitration without an appeal to the superior court, but only for valuation. An arbitration appeal requires a certified appraisal, and is usually used by commercial or industrial property owners. Or, you can appeal directly to superior court, which requires consent of the board of assessors. For non-homestead property with a fair market value of more than $1 million, you can appeal to a hearing officer with appeal to superior court, for valuation and uniformity.

Explain, in as much detail as you can, why you think the county’s valuation is wrong and why your number is the proper value. Details include things such as the condition of the property, structural damage, limitations of the property, value of surrounding homes, problems, and the like. You can attach any supporting documentation with the appeal.

Then, be sure to put contact information on the form — preferably your phone number and e-mail address.

"The more contact information you can give us the better," Marchese said. E-mail can be particularly helpful. "We can go back and forth by email and just take care of everything," he said.

The board of assessors will make an initial decision on the appeal. If you're not satisfied with that, then you can move forward to a hearing before the Board of Equalization. It's a three-member board of Coweta citizens, and the hearings are held in Coweta Superior Court.

Under state law changes a few years ago, the property tax value of a recently purchased home is capped at the sales price for one year. If you bought a home in 2013, the cap will be for the 2014 tax year.

For the most part, the cap is automatic. But for some property sales, particularly those through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the tax assessors office isn't notified of the sales price. If you bought a home in 2012 and your assessment this year didn't match the sales price, contact the tax assessors office.

The vast majority of properties in Coweta didn't change in value this year, said Marchese. There were 9,240 properties that increased in value, 8,241 that decreased in value, and 39,053 that didn't change.

In 2011, Marchese said his office received 2,123 appeals. In 2012, that was down to 1,640. So far this year, there have been less than 200, but there is always a rush near the deadline.

For more information, you can call the Coweta County Tax Assessors Office at 770-254-2680 or e-mail taxassessors@coweta.ga.us. Marchese has put together a short form to help explain the process.

If you want to see the value of nearby properties, go to www.CowetaTax.com, and search the records. The easiest way is to find your property and then use the parcel map to look at nearby properties.

Appeal forms can be mailed, e-mailed, faxed, or hand-delivered. The mailing address is 37 Perry Street, Newnan, GA 30263; and the fax number is 770-254-2649.



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