As 11Alive News first reported on May 11, some homeowners in Fulton County are seeing property tax rate increases of more than 50 percent this year.
“I don’t know why I have to be penalized. I lived in this neighborhood when nobody wanted to come into this neighborhood," said Sonny Letak, an Old Fourth Ward resident. "And now I have to be penalized because people are building nice houses and want to live in this neighborhood? Why don’t you tax them? They’re the ones that want to live here -- why am I being penalized?”
At a May 11 meeting, officials said their assessments are making up for lost time.
“We did not do a residential review for 2016 so we have had to play catch up,” said Dwight Robinson, chief tax appraiser for Fulton County. “So those increases represent not just one year. It represents two or three years when nothing was done.”
In some areas of Fulton County, homes will actually see a greater than 50 percent increase in value -- those areas will span from Milton in the northern portion of the county to Chattahoochee Hills in the far south. In central Fulton County, homeowners along the Atlanta BeltLine could also see significant increases of greater than 50 percent.
Fulton County Chairman John Eaves released a statement on Wednesday pointing out that Fulton County taxpayers are "victims of our own success."
"In Fulton County, over the past 10 years, the quality of life has improved in many areas and as a result, our real property values have gone up too," Eaves said. "Property tax assessments are based on those values. When the value goes up, taxes go up."
Eaves said there are ways that homeowners can soften the blow, including filing an assessment appeal and filing for a Homestead Exemption.
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.
Fulton County -- as well as other state and local agencies -- offer homestead exemptions 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.