Nearly 2,000 Fulton County homeowners thought their property assessments and taxes were frozen for three years. But the 1,800 homeowners got a surprise in the mail when they received their assessments this year: the numbers had gone up.
They’re just the most recent homeowners to be caught in the Fulton Tax Revolt. As 11Alive first reported in early May, property assessments rose dramatically for tens of thousands of homeowners.
“I actually assumed it was an administrative error so I called the board of tax assessors,” said Alex Wu, a homeowner in Old Fourth Ward.
Fulton Tax Revolt: Property assessment maps
Wu has the paperwork from the county that assured him his rate from 2015 was frozen for 3 years after an appeal.
“We had just refinanced our house and the bank gave us a lower appraisal than the county did,” said Wu. “So we said let's file an appeal because we have something we can base it off of. “
When Wu appealed in 2015, the appraisers agreed and rolled his assessment back. That froze his home value for three years, which should have included this year.
But he got a surprise in the mail this year, when his tax assessment shot up more than 45 percent.
“I just can't understand why the changes were made,” said Wu. “And I asked them specifically could they tell us? And I was told, leadership deemed it appropriate.“
At least one member of the tax assessors board is asking questions about these dramatic increases.
R.J. Morris is one of five members of the board and says he voted against the huge increases in Fulton County.
“We're causing homeowners to lose their homes and we won't stand for that,” said Morris.
Dwight Robinson, the county’s The Chief Tax Assessor, said in a public meeting today that 61,000 parcels of land were hit with at 50%+ increase this year. Some 1,800 of those homeowners had been approved for freezes on their tax rate.
Morris says that's just not right.
“I'm one of five5 people,” said Morris. “I can show you my emails, I can show you my public records requests, I tried over and over and over to get something done.”
Morris says he was outvoted at the meetings, and feels for every resident of Fulton County who doesn't know how they'll pay this huge bill.
“I can't even tell you how frustrating it is.”
The Board of Assessors will meet tomorrow to vote on a proposal to freeze the assessments for 30 days.
In the meantime, homeowners can appeal their assessment. The deadline for appealing is July 10.
Due to the sheer volume of appeals, the resolution may take some time. Homeowners are asked to be patient in receiving a response to questions regarding appeals. While your appeal is being resolved, it is imperative that you pay the temporary tax bill you have already received in order avoid any penalties and fees you may incur. Once the appeal is resolved, the Tax Commissioner's Office will recalculate your tax bill based on the final value. Taxpayers need to file their appeals no later than July 10, 2017.
Homeowners can also file for more than a dozen exemption to reduce tax bills. Exemptions are based on specific criteria and qualifications, and there are particular annual deadlines to meet in order to receive the annual exemptions. The filing for the 2017 Homestead Exemption has already passed, but the 2018 Homestead Exemption deadline is April 1, 2018.
Filing an appeal of your assessment and filing for a Homestead Exemption may be taken care of at the Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors' website.
Any questions homeowners have regarding property tax assessment appeals or homestead exemptions may be directed to the Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors at 404-612-6440.