Cobb County Board of Equalization

I went and had a tax year 2012 residential appeal at the Cobb County Board of Equalization, yesterday, and unfortunately it didn’t go too well. Right from the start, a particular board member, on board 2, was very combative towards me and just nasty acting. I could tell early on that they weren’t going to make an adjustment to my value, as is typical there because they all seem to be in the “back pocket” of the chief appraiser Phil Hogshed, and the assessor’s office. So, after receiving the “rubber stamp” no change to the value, as I was leaving, I let the nasty board member on board 2 know that I would be filing this matter to superior court, and I got the man’s name and told him I would be contacting his boss, the clerk of court Jay Stephenson, as soon as I got in my car, and he would be hearing from him later on in the day. Mr. Stephenson is over the entire board of equalization, which is supposed to be independent of the assessor’s office, but really doesn’t seem to act like it. Anyway, Mr. Stephenson did check in to the matter and the board member lied to Mr. Stephenson and he basically got off with just a complaint letter in his file. I thanked Mr. Stephenson for checking into the matter and let him know that the board member was lying to him, but I didn’t have proof because I didn’t record what was said and neither did the board member. Many people who go to these hearings get rail roaded and treated bad and they don’t know who to turn to to complain about it. Well, I do know who to turn to and If I have a negative experience with a board I go straight to the top and let them know about it.  I have done over 2,000 hearings in my career, so I’ve occassionally had to contact the person in charge of the various b.o.e’s.  By doing so, It helps get the attitude of the rogue board member under control.  I typically see them again in the future if I’m working in whatever county and of the ones I’ve had problems with in the past, they always seem to act a little nicer to me after they get their “talking to.” If anyone feels like he or she wasn’t treated with respect, or if they feel like they didn’t get a fair shake because the board of equalization seemed to be on the county’s side, then contact me and let me know about it. I can point you in the right direction as to where one would need to go to vent and maybe get something done. Also, it doesn’t cost anything to file an appeal to court in Cobb County, so always file it to court and that will get you an informal meeting with the assessor’s office and typically something can get worked out in lieu of going to a jury trial. Also, you don’t have to be an attorney to file an appeal to court. If anyone has questions or comments about property tax appeals, please contact me at info@taxappealatlanta.com or call me, Rob Vinson, 404-218-7874.

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About taxappealatlanta
I help my clients save money on their property tax bills by appealing their property tax assessments. I primarily work in the metro Atlanta GA area, including Fulton, and Dekalb Counties, but also work all over the southeast.

4 Responses to Cobb County Board of Equalization

  1. Bill Harris says:

    I have had problems with the Downing Tax Assessor Office and also had a poor result with the Board which is as you said just a rubber stamp for the Assessor I am starting a blog site about both at: http://cobbcountytax.blogspot.com/ and if others are also screwed by this bunch of morons and start their own sites I hope they will let me know so I can provide a link on my site to their site.

  2. Tom Owens says:

    The problem is that the chairman of a Cobb County BOE is a “career board member” that has worked with the county for numerous years. I went to a BOE today and the chairman has worked with the tax assessors office for 14 years! Definitely a conflict of interest.

    Here’s how my proceeding went:

    The tax assessor attempted to make the ridiculous claim that my property somehow jumped 13% in value over the past year. He supported the evaluation based on the purchase price of a single home. The assessor never shows any math that supports how the evaluation is determined.

    I presented the purchase price, a.k.a. fair market value, of numerous comparable homes and historical progression of the fair market value of numerous sold homes from the previous years. The DATA supports that at most the value could have increased by no more than 6%.
    The board consists of one chairman, “the county’s insider”, and two unbiased members. One of the “unbiased” (in quotes on purpose) members first asks the chairman for her opinion. After the chairman quickly rubber stamps no change in value, the now biased “unbiased” member concurs with the chairman. However, the one board member that is truly unbiased verbally dissents from the other two. The chairman then passes out the official BOE results document for the board members to sign and the board member that dissented signs in the section that states that he finds the assessor’s value valid instead of the line that states that he dissents from the majority decision. That was odd.

    You definitely get the feeling that the cards are stacked against you. The assessor does not have to do a good job supporting the county’s evaluation. The assessor’s evaluation is automatically valid and it is your job to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the evaluation is incorrect. Next time I’ll come in with more data, perhaps some plots and charts. Though I’m not sure how much it would matter.

    It is unethical and it should be illegal to have a career chairman on the BOE working for the county.

  3. Tom Owens says:

    If you investigate the property taxes of a chairman of a Cobb County BOE you will find a home purchased in 2011 for $543,000. However, the chairman’s appraised fair market value by the county for 2013 has been REDUCED from $441,760 to $402,230. So while everyone’s property taxes are going up 12%, the county’s career BOE member gets a 9% kick back!

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