Property owners who wish to dispute the assessed value of their property have until 5 p.m., Monday, August 13th, 2012, to file an appeal. The appeal time period is set by law at 45 days from the date of the notice, and cannot be extended.
The Douglas County Board of Assessors mailed its annual real and personal property assessment notices to all Douglas County property owners, in accordance with State law and to reflect it fair market value. The notices went out in late June. Approximately 42,290 notices (80.51%) revealed a decrease in property values; approximately 7,455 (14.19%) had no change in value; and an estimated 2,784 (5.3%) had an increase in value. The increases in value were due mainly to new construction, new additions, remodeling, and other actions taken that purposely increased the property value.
State law provides four appeal options to property owners:
- Board of Equalization (Standard Appeal)
- Free, No cost to the taxpayer
- The appeal will be reviewed by a Staff Appraiser and make a recommendation. The Board of Assessors will review the recommendation and send a 30-day letter to the owner advising them of their decision and appeal rights from that point.
- If no change is made by the Board of Assessors, or the owner requests to further the appeal after receiving the 30-day letter, the appeal is sent to the Board of Equalization.
- The Board of Equalization is a three-person panel appointed by the Grand Jury. No member of the Board of Equalization has any affiliation with the Appraisal Department or the Board of Assessors.
- The Board of Equalization will hear both sides (Staff Appraiser and property owner), and will render a decision, which may be appealed to the Superior Court by either party.
- The property owner must pay a filing fee of $207 and a certified appraisal of the subject property, and the Board of Assessors must notify the property owner of the receipt of the arbitration appeal within 10 days.
- If the Board of Assessors accepts the property owner’s appraisal, the $207 filing fee is refunded. If the property owner’s appraisal is rejected, the Board of Assessors must certify the appeal to the Clerk of Superior Court for arbitration. The arbitration is authorized by a Judge and a hearing is scheduled within 30 days.
- The Arbitrator will issue a decision after the hearing, and the decision is final.
- If the property owner’s value is chosen, the County is responsible for fees and arbitration costs.
- If the Board of Assessors’ value is chosen, the property owner is responsible for fees and costs.
- Hearing Officer
- The property owner may appeal using a Hearing Officer who is a State-certified general real property or residential real property appraiser and approved by the Georgia Real Estate Commission and the Georgia Real Estate Appraiser Board.
- The grounds for the appeal must be the value or uniformity of value of non-homestead real property but only when the value is equal to or greater than $1,000,000.
- The property owner may appeal the decision of the Hearing Officer to the Superior Court ($207 filing fee).
- Superior Court
- The property owner may pay a $207 filing fee and the appeal goes straight to the Superior Court.
Property owners must use a one-page appeal form that is available for download from the Appraisal Department page of the Douglas County web site at www.CelebrateDouglasCounty.com. Appraisal Department staff is available at 770.920.7228 to answer questions about the appeals process. Appeals are accepted in the Appraisal Department, 1st floor, Douglas County Courthouse, 8700 Hospital Drive, Douglasville, Georgia 30134.