I went to a meeting, for property tax representatives, at the Fulton County assessor’s office, this past Friday. I was told that there are still 13,000 outstanding appeals from prior tax years at this time. 6,500 of them are still at the Board of Tax Assessor’s level waiting to go to the board of equalization and 6,500 are at the board of equalization waiting to be heard. There are approximately 10 boards working full time, so it’s going to take awhile to get all of those hearings taken care of. 335,000 tax year 2011 notices are going to be mailed out at one time. Allegedly, at the end of April. I have a feeling, it will be sometime in May. There is a six week window to file an appeal. There is still a moratorium on the assessor’s office increasing values, so if anything, the values will be decreasing. The Assessor’s office is anticipating about 10% of the tax payers to file an appeal, or 35,000. I feel like it will be higher. Extra staff has been hired at the assessor’s office and there will be three more fulltime boards running as well. On the assessment notice, there will be an “estimate” of the 2011 property taxes due, but it won’t be correct. There is no way to figure up the exemptions and have it correct for each parcel. Also, there is a state form for people to use to file an appeal. One doesn’t have to use the form, but the assessor’s office is encouraging people to use it. An appeal letter will still suffice though, to initiate the process. On the appeal, there will be several choices for the taxpayer to select. Arbitration is an option, there may be a small price for this and it’s non binding. The board of equalization is an option and it’s free. The decision obtained there is binding. For commercial properties over $1M in value, a hearing can be selected before a “special master.” There may be a charge for this one as well. Also, should one not get the value he or she feels like he is entitled too, filing it to court is an option. There is no way that all of the 2011 hearings will be heard in 180 days like the SB 346 bill calls for, but the Fulton County Assessor’s Office is doing the best they can to adhere to this new bill. As always, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Thanks!