Property tax: How to appeal your tax assessment in Georgia

If you own any real estate in Georgia, paying your property tax bill is an unwelcome part of your responsibility. But how can you know if your county is asking you to pay more than your fair share?

The last time FOX 5 real estate expert John Adams discussed property taxes on Good Day was in March when he encouraged all owners to file a property tax return. The deadline for that was April 1st. Now we move to part two of the Georgia Property Tax process, and that involves receiving your notice of assessment.

Under Georgia property tax law, every owner in the state is mailed a notice of assessment. When that happens, homeowners have 45 days to file an appeal.

Most counties in Georgia mail out notices in May or even June, but last week, Gwinnett County jumped the gun and mailed out their notices of assessment.

That means the clock is ticking.

Filing an APPEAL of your assessment notice guarantees your right to meet with the county appraisers, check their information, compare it with your own research, and even negotiate with the county appraisers on your valuation.

It can easily save you well over $1,000 over the next three years, and Adams considers that worth all the hassle.

Steps to appeal your notice of assessment in Georgia

1. Watch your mail for a notice of assessment from the county where you own property.  

2. Look at the notice of assessment to see if the county appraisers raised their market value from last year to this year, and if so, by how much.

3. Once you have found the 2024 proposed market value, ask yourself this question: On Jan. 1 of this year, would I really have been able to sell my property for this much money? If not, you should go ahead and file an appeal.

4. To file, use any search engine and enter "Georgia Form PT-311A." Fill out that form, attach a copy of your notice of assessment, and mail it to the address on the notice.

That locks in your right to appeal your case to the county board of equalization several months from now.  

The good news is this: By filing your appeal, you give yourself time to meet with the county appraisers, check their calculations, and make sure their estimate of value is fair.

If it is fair, you can drop the appeal with no harm done. If it’s not fair, you have bought valuable time to gather your facts, challenge their case, and perhaps negotiate a settlement with the county appraisers.

The appraisers are under tremendous pressure to get these cases settled quickly and to avoid the major expense to the county of presenting their case to the board, so they probably will be willing to negotiate.

Adams' advice to property owners is this: It costs you nothing to appeal your assessment, and it can’t hurt you. If you lose, you’ve only lost the price of a postage stamp, and some counties actually let you appeal for free online.

In his experience, assuming the data is in your favor, if you do nothing more than file the paperwork, there is about a one in three chance that you’ll get a reduction.

Atlanta native John Adams has been a real estate broker and investor in residential real estate for the past four decades.