Georgia County Government - Fall 2015 - (Page 40)

ImPAct oF leGIslAtIon/PolIcY REBOUNDING ECONOMy LEADS TO REFORM IN ProPerty tax law By Samuel Johnson IN A POST-RECESSION housing market, county commissioners are beginning to see the challenges and benefits associated with an inflationary economy. With growing property values and associated rises in property tax assessments, the appeals process is expected to be increasingly utilized by taxpayers who hope to argue against what they feel is an unfair appraisal. In anticipation of such events, the General Assembly passed a property tax reform bill, HB 202, during the 2015 legislative session, which will provide for greater efficiencies in administering appraisals, streamline the appeals process, and update general administrative aspects of property tax appraisal services. These updates will allow taxpayers to be better suited in navigating the appeals process while county governments benefit from a more efficient administration. Administration of tax Appraisal services Several substantial changes made to the law give counties options when administering tax appraisal services, including the creation of regional appraisal offices. County appraisal office staffing requirements are based upon the number of parcels within a county's boundaries. Through an intergovernmental agreement, any number of counties 40 GeorGiA County Government may combine parcels to create a regional appraisal office. This allows all participating governments to change their class, as well as corresponding appraisal office staffing levels, which could lead to a decrease in the cost of administrating appraisal services for individual counties. electronic communication Typically, property tax information is sent through first-class paper mail. HB 202 enables tax commissioners, tax assessors, and taxpayers to utilize an electronic source for communicating property tax information. At his or her discretion, the tax commissioner may now establish an online platform that transmits tax information through email, such as tax bills or delinquent notices. The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) is charged with developing a form for taxpayers to use when requesting online communication. If a property assessment has changed, counties will be able to notify taxpayers electronically by issuing a uniform 30 day notice that will be created by DOR. If a taxpayer chooses to file an appeal, their board of tax assessors will be required to process it in a timely manner or face a penalty. Forsyth County Clerk of Superior and State Courts Greg Allen explains, "If the board of tax assessors fails to respond to the taxpayer in 180 days [without an approved extension], then the property value asserted by the taxpayer on the notice of appeal becomes the assessed Fair Market Value." Electronic communication between the taxpayer and county government may serve as a less costly and more efficient alternative. Appeals Appealing an assessment made by the board of assessors will be heard by one of three appellate bodies depending on the case: the board of equalization (BOE), an arbitrator, or a hearing officer. If a resolution is not met through one of these channels, then the board of assessors has one more chance to meet with the taxpayer. If a settlement is not reached, the two parties can appear before a judge. HB 202 also allows the parties to settle an appeal during any stage

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Fall 2015

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
Putting the Private Sector to Work for Georgia’s Counties
Military Partnerships with Georgia Counties a Win-Win
Georgia Helps Itself: The Efforts to Provide Funding Alternatives
A New Direction
Rebounding Economy Leads to Reform in Property Tax Law
The Crisis on our Roads: Turning the Tide on Surge in Georgia Traffic Deaths
2015 Legislative Service Award Recipients
Education and Economic Development Go Hand-in-Hand
County Collaborations with Local Schools Save Money, Improve Efficiency
Georgia’s Technical Colleges: Where Business and Education Intersect
Welcome to 191 Peachtree, ACC G's New Home
Georgia County Internship Program: Summer Success Stories
ACCG Heads to Jekyll Island for the Legislative Leadership Conference
Conference Agenda
I, You, Me, and We
Reducing In-the-Line-of Duty Deaths with Below 100 Train the Trainer
“Her Majesty” Instills Valuable Lessons: Lessons learned from the Hancock County Courthouse Fire
Thank You to our Partners
Why Can’t We Just Keep It All? The Case for Records & Information Management
Social Media and the Dog Tags
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - Fall 2015