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Did Your Property Tax Assessment Go Up?

DeKalb County residents are complaining about how their home value is calculated.

Last night I opened the DeKalb County property tax assessment I received in the mail. I looked at the numbers and said, "Wow."

The assessed value of our condo in Decatur went up 6.4 percent. Last year it dropped.

I found out that wasn't so bad compared to other DeKalb property owners.

One woman I know said the assessed value on her home went up a whopping 73 percent.

She doesn't want to pay more property taxes. She's learning how to appeal.

Meanwhile, people in some neighborhoods are reporting most of their assessments dropped.

What's going on?

Were you surprised by your tax assessment? Will you file a formal appeal?

Diane Loupe May 31, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I own my residence and a rental, and my home went down and my rental went UP! What was startling to me about the rental is that I refinanced it earlier this year, and it appraised for far less than they thought it would. Of course, my assessment is about $50,000 more. Definitely going to appeal. Would appreciate an article here on how to appeal successfully.
Sally Cottrell May 31, 2012 at 05:05 PM
most definitely need an article on how to appeal, and information about how age of home owner might affect the property assessment fee.
Tammy May 31, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Claudia Lawson says "Honey, send the bill and most of them will just pay it".
John Beeland May 31, 2012 at 08:09 PM
If you know of any homes in your area that have sold recently, get the addresses and go on DeKalb COunty's website to see what they sold for. You want to build a case based on "comparable sales"--sales of homes of similar size, with a similar number of BRs, BAs, and so on, in a comparable location. In my case, a home just four houses down for me just sold in December for $30,000 less than what I was just appraised for, and that house is nicer than mine. You need to build a case, then go in to the county's BOE process armed with all of that information and make your case.
ClareNic May 31, 2012 at 10:56 PM
our assessment went down by $100k. I'm eager to know why the drastic shifts and want to know if they'll stick or are a mistake. Seems something must be off. Please do some reporting and find out the answer.
trish bricker June 01, 2012 at 12:26 PM
I was curious about housing values in my neighborhood and went to the Dekalb County property values website. Looks like the land value is the same, and pretty high, but houses range in value from 9K to 280K for one that was purchased 6 months ago. Three houses on my street--one very large, one decent size, and one modest--all had the same dwelling value. Seems like there is no method to Dekalb's valuation process!
Steve M. June 01, 2012 at 12:28 PM
My involvement with property tax appeals some years ago was a joke. While I did get a small reduction,it was not enough and I went to the BOE, armed with statistics of some 21 other properties, pointing out that almost all were assessed at a lower value, and that assessments were not consistent. The BOE turned me down, without even giving a reason for their decision. Decatur is a mess, fooling residents some years ago into basing assessments on 50% of value instead of the 40% everywhere else. At the time, the proposal on the ballot was worded such that most people did not realize that they were voting for a tax increase. I understood that at the time that Decatur was hitting the millage ceiling and desperate to find a way to collect more tax, and this is how they did it.
Maureen June 01, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Mine went down $50K (60%).
bulldogger June 01, 2012 at 03:38 PM
We live in a townhouse in Decatur and our assessment actually has decreased this year and last year so I'm not complaining. That being said, our DeKalb County Tax Portion has increased due to the millage rate increases........it's a win/lose situation and ridiculous. DeKalb County needs to cut the waste, and believe me there's gotta be plenty of it out of their operations. Oh, BTW, the DeKalb County Facilities Management Flatbed Wrecker, Tag Number GV85255 that pulled out of the QT at N. DeKalb Mall at 10:00AM on 5/31 and was hauling a "White Infinity" with a regular tag, i. e., not a county vehicle, is this "Personal Use" of DeKalb County Facilities? Is this one of the reasons we have a budget deficit in DeKalb? Inquiring minds want to know.......
Evin Galang June 01, 2012 at 04:05 PM
This is crazy. Our 1970 one-story 3/1 just went up 100K. There is absolutely no way that this makes sense. Please, please, do a piece on how to appeal. We have already requested comps from our realtor and are putting our case together, but any guidance would be so helpful to us and others in our situation.
Judy June 01, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Mine went down by 45%
marianne June 01, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Mine went up 45% this year after going down 5% last year. I am trying to refinance my house right now and the bank thinks it's worth 50% of the new county appraisal. So I lose by ways, no refinance AND higher taxes!
Julia Ewen June 01, 2012 at 06:44 PM
There are several ways to deal with property tax increases. Even if the board denies your appeal, you don't have to accept the situation. You can file a tax return with the county giving your estimate and your evidence for what you believe your property to be worth and calculate your own tax bill and pay that amount. A different office, not the assessors, office reviews the tax returns, and so there's a chance of getting a different decision, one in your favor. Also make sure that you have claimed all the exemptions to which you are entitled. To find out about your eligibility call, email or go in person to the county tax office. Some of the exemptions are the homestead exemption (tax credit for owner occupied homes), low-income and disability exemptions, age-based exemption from the school tax portion of the bill, with proof of income. After age 70 there's no proof of income required. The school tax is the biggest portion of the tax bill.
Julia Ewen June 01, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I'd like to clarify that I actually choose to pay the school tax. I qualify for an exemption from it on account of age and income, but I choose to support our schools. I no longer have children in the classrooms, but somebody else's taxes had the schools ready and running for my children when I moved here, and I don't mind paying that obligation forward, at least for a few more years, as long as I can afford it. I wish I could pay the school tax and refuse to pay part of the county's portion, because I too think there's too much waste, starting with the county exec's office! But it is an all or nothing situation.
John Yntema June 01, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Mine went up about 20%. One interesting thing to check is the proportion of the land value. I was shocked by how much they value the land our house is set on. That probably reflects the recent purchases of land to build these new $600,000 houses. If someone can purchase a liveable house, knock it down, cut down a huge tree and still make a profit on a large house (as they are doing across the street from us), I guess our land is worth more than I thought.
Alison Kyle June 02, 2012 at 02:54 PM
We are in City of Decatur in an old unrenovated 40's bungalow. Our Decatur assessment went down by 15%, but our teeny tiny slice of Dekalb County (non-Decatur) backyard increased by over 60%. How is this possible! Its a strip of land about 10' x 10' and suddenly it is worth 4600$ ? I say Dekalb must be in real trouble if their taxes are going up by this much! I will be appealing because it simply does not make sense. The house goes down but the backyard goes up?
Nick June 04, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Mine went up by 45%, I'll be filing an appeal!
Ms. June 05, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Wow, that is really walking the walk on your beliefs. I can honestly say you are the first person I think I have ever heard of doing that. Giving all kids a fair start, is really the only way to change anything in the world. Good on you.
Julia Ewen June 05, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Ms. thanks for your comment. I think that it is no so much the taxes themselves that peole resent, but how wateful our public servants are with the money we raise by taxing ourselves. I noticed that when hard times hit us that the FIRST cuts made were firing of teachers and of police officers! the perks and expense accounts of the execs were way down the list. We need some new people in our government that will treat tax revenues as the public trust that they are--not as their own personal gravy train! If we duck the property tax, they will just find some other way to pick our pockets. The problem isn't taxes. It's the people doing the spending. Vote em out.
Jenny B June 05, 2012 at 12:47 PM
73% increase - I bought my house at market peak in 2008 - my late 2011 appraisal for a refi (that I barely qualified due to its decrease in market value) is almost half what the county says the value is. I was going to appeal anyway; this just made it a bigger appeal.
Nick June 05, 2012 at 01:30 PM
"bigger appeal"...lol!
Nick June 07, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Just read an AJC article about tax assessments...and how one homeowner is skeptical the county will reassess his property...i kinda feel that way, too (haven't started my appeal yet)...BUT...this is a case where the people really hold the power...if they don't lower our assessments, we can not shop in Dekalb county, until they are forced to lower the assessments...hopefully it won't come to that, but if it does, it's an option...
Rae Harkness September 20, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Diane, I work for the Tax Commissioner. Have executed successful appeals.
Rae Harkness September 20, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Just remember, Claudia Lawson does not set Property Assessments, her duty is to collect the tax money set by the Tax Assessors. Don't shoot the messenger!

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