If you’re a homeowner in Georgia, have you received your county’s Annual Notice of Assessment yet? Gwinnett County homeowners should be getting theirs soon as they were mailed on May 1st. Tossing this into the trash without carefully looking at it could cost you.
The Annual Notice of Assessment is mailed to homeowners in Georgia in keeping with state law. It’s not a tax bill. Instead, it’s an assessment of the value of your property which is the basis of your property tax bill. At least in the case of Gwinnett County assessments, “the Gwinnett County Board of Tax Assessors’ appraisal staff determines your property value based on recent sales (including bank sales) and market conditions. The appraisers use three different approaches to value property:
The Sales Comparison Approach is based on the sales prices of comparable property.
The Cost Approach is based on the estimated costs of replacement or reproduction of structures, less accumulated depreciation, plus the value of the land.
The Income Approach is based on the capitalization of income generated by the property.”1
For any number of reasons, an assessment could be inaccurate. This is where you face the danger of throwing money away. Take for example the case of the homeowner whose assessment of property value jumped over $60,000 in one year, from the upper $200,000s to the mid-$300,000s. Most homeowners would love to see that size of annual increase in their property value, but, in most cases, it’s not likely. Of course, along with the jump in value comes an increase in taxes. But if your property isn’t really worth what the Annual Notice of Assessment says it is, why should you pay higher taxes?
The good news is that counties have an appeal process in place for contesting property valuations. That Annual Notice of Assessment likely tells you how to make the appeal or directs you to a website that will give you the instructions. You can also call your county’s Tax Assessor to discuss the process.
The bottom line here is that you don’t want to be hasty in tossing out or casually glancing over the Annual Notice of Assessment you got in the mail. You probably have a pretty good idea of the value of your home and the homes in your neighborhood. Take a close look at this notice and you could find yourself saving some of your hard-earned money this year.
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