Millage rates increase in metro Atlanta Counties

It is getting towards the time when most of the counties in Georgia will set their millage rates for the year.  Thus far, Dekalb County has increased its’ millage rate 26% from what it was in 2010.  Cobb County has increased its’ mill rate 15% from what the final rate was in 2010 and Clayton County has raised its’ millage rate a whopping 34% over the final 2010 rate.  From what I have heard, Fulton and Gwinnett Counties are not going to raise their millage rates for 2011, but we shall see.  If a property owner’s value didn’t decrease for 2011, then he or she will be paying more in taxes this year, but for the most part, if a property’s value decreased, then the amount of taxes due for 2011 will be approximately the same as the final 2010 tax amount.  Hopefully in the future, as values stabilize and begin to increase, the counties will decrease their millage rates accordingly.

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Millage rate increases for tax year 2011

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, had an interesting article in its’ July 5, 2011 edition.  Apparently Fulton County and other counties around the metro Atlanta area are considering raising millage rates for tax year 2011 without holding three meetings prior to the meeting when the county commissioner’s vote on setting the new millage rates. With all of the reduction in the tax values or tax base, many of the metro counties are scrambling to find money anyway they can.  (In the years past, typically when a county wanted to increase the mill rate in that certain year, the public had to be given three chances to voice their opinion on the matter at three separate meetings.)  These metro counties and any of the other 159 counties in GA can get away with this based on the taxpayer’s bill of rights that was passed in 1999.  The bill was initially passed to reign in counties from collecting more taxes in the current year than they did in the past year.  For example, In years past, fair market values would increase year after year and if millage rates remained the same and weren’t decreasing, then the counties collected more revenue.  After the tax payer’s bill of rights was passed in 1999,  The tax commissioner’s offices were supposed to DECREASE the millage rates to offset the gain or “Back door” tax increase.  No one would have ever considered that values would decrease, but there is a little clause in the law that says counties can not collect less taxes than the year before, so the millage rates can be adjusted accordingly without having the three separate meetings.  In fact, they can go ahead and pass the new millage rates with no input from the public.  So, if one’s fair market value remained the same for 2011 and didn’t decrease, chances are with the increase in the millage rate, the amount of taxes paid in 2011 will be greater than in 2010.  To see that one’s taxes don’t increase this year, I am encouraging that each person appeal his or her property tax assessment for 2011.  Chances are that a reduction in the value can be obtained and less taxes can be paid for 2011 than were paid in 2010.  If anyone needs help appealing his or her property tax assessment, please contact me, Rob Vinson, at info@taxappealatlanta.com or check at my website at www.taxappealatlanta.com.  Thanks for reading my blog.