Graham Group Articles

The Tax Man is Coming

By April 16, 2020 April 17th, 2020 No Comments

The Counties all around the Metro area are about to begin issuing the 2020 value, which they will use for the purpose of your property tax Bill. Each county is charged by the State of Georgia Department of Revenue to issue a value for each property every year, and they are supposed to issue the value in a uniform manor based on market value. In a market that is booming like the one we are in now it can lead to a rapidly rising property tax bill, which can become a burden on the homeowner.

Fortunately, there are folks like myself, which advocate on behalf of property owners in their disputes with the county over the property tax value. Whether you are purchasing a property or you have been in your property for a while, you should always look to manage the property tax bill you are paying. I always like to say “there is a big difference between what your property should be valued at for tax purposes, and what you would buy/Sell your property for”. Keeping the value of your property low for tax purposes does not effect the true market value of your property in any way. Property owners whether commercial or residential are supposed to pay tax based on a “fair market Value” established by the county. This value is established as of January 1st each year by looking at sales in the previous year as well as the value of similar homes in your neighborhood.

When you hire a tax consultant, you are relying on their knowledge of the market and the laws in place. It is their knowledge of the market and laws that allows to them to work with the county in an effort to minimize the tax bill on a property. For example if you purchase a home for a Million dollars, and the next year the county issues a Fair Market Value of $1,000,000; they may or may not be in line with the laws. If the county increases the value of the subject based on its sale but does not increase the values of the similar properties in the nearby area; it is not valuing the property in a uniform manor, and basically “chased a Sale”. You would file an appeal, and in most cases reduce the value/Tax Bill.

Making sure that you file for your “homestead exemption” is also critical, because it will limit your exposure to a spiking property tax bill as the markets improve. New laws were put into place for Homestead properties for 2019, which cap the amount the tax bill can increase year over year; therefore if you have Homestead on your property then your tax bill can only increase roughly 3% year over year. A Homestead Property means that it is a property Owners Primary residence, and they do not maintain a Homestead on any other properties. Filing for your Homestead must be done by April 4th of the year for it to go in place for the subject year, so if you have not filed for your exemption you better hop to it!

The times that you really need to enlist the help of a tax professional are when you have purchased a home, and you want to prevent the county from using the sales price against you. When you have purchased a new build home, because the county records are incorrect much of the time. Lastly, you want to have a property tax professional when the market turns downwards; hopefully that is many years off, but it will happen. When the markets turn negative, the county will not be proactively reducing values; therefore, you will need to file appeals to keep the values Fair and equitable.

Now that I have excited you with all of this property tax talk; go buy a home with Lindsay Levin and her team and call The Graham Group to keep your tax bill in line.