I just received my 2012 Annual Notice Of Assessment from Fulton County. Somewhere in between yet another Crate & Barrel catalog (please, for the love of G-d, stop sending me catalogs!) and my over bloated water bill was the thin, seemingly insignificant envelope. It almost got tossed with the daily direct mailer pimping out the Chase Sapphire card. Almost.
I liken this annual mailing to the check-up reminder postcard that my dentist sends me. They’re both easily overlooked, yet essential annual milestones. They both have the potential to be expensive… especially if they’re ignored. While the dental visit comes with possible upside (Free Toothbrush! Highlights Magazine! Nitrous Oxide!), there is no such upside with the tax assessment notice. Where there is upside- if you’re paying attention- is in the appeal of the tax assessment.
Many home owners don’t realize that they have the right to appeal their tax assessment. What this means is that you can actually file a formal appeal with the County, and present your case as to why your property taxes are disproportionately high. The process can take some time- the County is still hearing appeals from the 2011 cycle- but for many who have gone through the process, the end result can mean shaving a significant sum off of the annual bill.
Should you appeal your taxes? If you respond affirmatively to any of the points below, you might want to consider:
1. The assessment has valued your home higher this year than it did last year, despite your understanding that home values have gone down in your area over the last twelve months.
2. The assessed value of your home is signficantly higher than you believe your home would sell for in the open market.
3. You’re philisophicaly aligned with any opportunity to reduce the amount of your money that you’re required to share with the government.
What’s most important is that you make your decision asap. You have only 45 days to appeal your 2012 assessment. That’s it. There are no do-overs, nor are there are any extensions.
If you’d like to discuss the appeal process, feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email. I can give you my professional advice from a real estate perspective, as well as share my personal experiences as someone who has gone through the appeal process in the past. While I can promise you that the appeal process is nothing like visiting the dentist (no nitrous oxide, free toothbrush or Highlights Magazine), there is the possibility of saving significant money in future property tax owed.