Appealing Your Tax Assessment

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The Columbia County Board of Tax Assessors is required by Georgia State Law to send out an assessment notice informing taxpayers of valuation changes.  Upon receiving the notice, taxpayers have 45 days from the date on the notice to file a written appeal.  Assessment notices will be mailed June 17, 2016.  The deadline to file an appeal is August 1, 2016.     

TIME IS IMPORTANT – LATE APPEALS ARE INVALID.

 

 

Submit your appeal: 
By mail:   Board of Tax Assessors, P O Box 498, Evans, GA  30809
By fax:     706-312-7476
By email:  assessor@columbiacountyga.gov

 

Real Property Appeals:
Once the appeal has been filed with the Columbia County Board of Tax Assessors within the time provided, an appraiser will contact the taxpayer to schedule a site visit.  The appraiser will need to re-measure and inspect the structure inside and out.  At this time the owner should point out any concerns with the structure or land.  The Board of Tax Assessors will review the valuation, taxability or uniformity issues in question and the taxpayer will be notified in writing of the Board's decision.  The value may be increased, decreased or left the same.

Personal Property Appeals:
Once the appeal has been filed with the Columbia County Board of Tax Assessors within the time provided, an appraiser will contact the taxpayer, if needed, to discuss the appeal of the business or boat.  The Board of Tax Assessors will review the valuation, taxability or uniformity issues in question and the taxpayer will be notified in writing of the Board's decision.  The value may be increased, decreased or left the same.

 

***ONLINE APPEAL FORM*** 

The following information should be included in your written appeal: 

  • Property ID #
  • Your name, address, daytime phone number and email address
  • Reason for appealing (taxability, uniformity, value or denial of homestead exemption)
  • Any pertinent information to support your appeal
  • Whether you would like your appeal to be heard by the county Board of Equalization, a Hearing Officer or an Arbitrator (see below for details)  
  • Personal Property Business or Marine Returns must be completed and submitted with any personal property appeals if the previous year's return was not filed. Please click here to complete the return to submit with your appeal.

***THE TAXPAYER MUST SELECT ONE OF THE THREE OPTIONS BELOW WHEN FILING AN APPEAL***

  • Appeal to the County Board of Equalization: The appeal based on value, uniformity, taxability or denial of exemption is filed by the property owner and reviewed by the Board of Assessors. The Board of Assessors may change the assessment and send a new notice. The property owner may appeal the assessment in the amended notice within 30 days. This second appeal made by the property owner or any initial appeal which is not amended by the Board of Assessors is automatically forwarded to the Board of Equalization. A hearing is scheduled and conducted and the Board of Equalization renders its decision at the conclusion of the hearing. If the taxpayer is still dissatisfied, an appeal to Superior Court may be made.

  • Appeal to a Hearing Officer: The taxpayer may appeal to a Hearing Officer, who is a state certified general real property or state certified residential real property appraiser and is approved as a hearing officer by the Georgia Real Estate Commissioner and the Georgia Real Estate Appraiser Board, when the issue of the appeal is the value or uniformity of value of non-homestead real property or wireless personal property, but only when the value is equal to or greater than $750,000. If the taxpayer is still dissatisfied with the decision of the hearing officer, an appeal to Superior Court may be made.

      ***If you are a state certified general real property or state certified residential real property appraiser and you are interested in obtaining information about becoming a hearing officer, contact Cindy Mason, Clerk of Superior Court at 706-312-7139.

    • Appeal to an Arbitrator: An appeal of value may be filed to Arbitration by filing your appeal specifying Arbitration with the Board of Assessors within 45 days of the date of the notice. The Board of Assessors must notify the taxpayer of the receipt of the arbitration appeal within 10 days. The taxpayer must submit a certified appraisal of the subject property within 45 days of the filing of the notice of appeal which the Board of Assessors may accept or reject. If the taxpayer’s appraisal is rejected the Board of Assessors must certify the appeal to the county Clerk of Superior Court for arbitration. The arbitration is authorized by the judge and a hearing is scheduled within 30 days. The arbitrator will issue a decision at the conclusion of the hearing, which may be further appealed to Superior Court. If the taxpayer’s value is determined by the arbitrator to be the value, the county is responsible for the Clerk of the Superior Court’s fees, if any, and the fees and costs of the arbitrator. If the Board of Assessors’ value is determined by the arbitrator to be the value, the taxpayer is responsible for the Clerk of the Superior Court’s fees, if any, and the fees and costs of the arbitrator.

    • Appeals to the Superior Court:

    • Written notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days to the county Board of Tax Assessors
      Once a decision has been made by the county Board of Equalization, a Hearing Officer or an Arbitrator, the taxpayer may appeal their decision to the Superior Court of the county by mailing or filing with the county Board of Tax Assessors a written notice of appeal. The written notice of appeal should be mailed or filed within 30 days from which the decision of the county Board of Equalization, Hearing Officer or Arbitrator was mailed or hand delivered.

    • Ad valorem taxes must be paid
      Before the Superior Court can hear an appeal, the ad valorem taxes must be paid in an amount equal to the last year in which taxes were determined to be due.
        (O.C.G.A. 48-5-29)     

    • Settlement Conference
      Within 45 days of receipt of a taxpayer's notice of appeal to Superior Court, the county Board of Tax Assessors shall send to the taxpayer notice that a settlement conference in which the county Board of Tax Assessors and the taxpayer shall confer in good faith, shall be held no later than 30 days from the notice of the settlement conference.  If at the conclusion of the conference the parties fail to agree on a fair market value, the county Board of Assessors shall provide written notice to the taxpayer that the filing fees must be paid by the taxpayer to the Clerk of Superior Court within ten days of the date of the conference.      
    • Notification of Certification of Notice of Appeal to Clerk of Superior Court
      Within 30 days of receipt of proof of payment to the Clerk of Superior Court, the county Board of Tax Assessors will certify the notice of appeal and any other papers specified by the person appealing to the Clerk of the Superior Court. The taxpayer or their attorney or agent will be served with a copy of the notice of appeal with the civil action file number assigned to the appeal.
            
    • Appeal Heard by Superior Court
      In most cases the appeal will be heard before a jury at the first term of court unless questions of law are at issue in the appeal.

    • Property Owner Could Recover Court Costs and Fees
      If the final determination of value on appeal is 85% or less of the valuation set by the county Board of Equalization, Hearing Officer, or Arbitrator as to any real property, the taxpayer, in addition to the interest provided for in subsection (m) of Code section 48-5-311, shall recover costs of litigation and reasonable attorney's fees incurred in the action.  Any appeal of an award of attorney's fees by the county shall be specifically approved by the governing authority of the county.