FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Thousands of people in Fulton County are expected to file appeals to their property assessments in the coming days.

But they only have until July 10 to do it. So what are the steps in the process? This is already overwhelming for people who were hit with massive tax increases. Many people already feel like they can't do anything to change it.

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But before you pay up, know that you can formally challenge that rate hike.

  • Step 1: File an appeal on the Fulton County Board of Assessors website. You will get a letter in the mail responding. The county could drop your assessment or keep it the same if you turn their offer down.
  • Step 2: Request a hearing with the board of equalization.
  • Step 3: Meet with the board. Don't miss the meeting, it's your only chance. You'll meet with three members of the board and a county representative who is a property assessor. They will ask if you want to speak first or if you would like the county to go first. Let the county speak first so you know what their case is.
  • Step 4: Come prepared with printed evidence that your assessment is wrong. But don't use information from real estate websites. The board will claim that's too fluid. Bring the bank appraisal of your property. If there are inconsistencies in what appraisers say about your home such as wrong square footage or too many bathrooms point that out.
  • Step 5: Keep your message simple. The board will be listening to hundreds of appeals.
  • Step 6: Come in with a figure in your mind that will make you happy. They will likely not drop your property assessment back to what it was the year before, but you could get a reduction.
  • Step 7: Sign paperwork before you leave agreeing to the new number if you're able to get it reduced. The county has 180 days to resolve your appeal or get an extension.

If you win your appeal and they reassess your property for less than the most recent value, you will get a refund. So make sure you pay your taxes on time even if you're appealing.

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Members of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners will hold community meetings about the property tax assessments on the following dates:

Monday, June 12, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
Chairman John H. Eaves
Helene S. Mills Senior Multipurpose Facility, 515 John Wesley Dobbs Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
Chairman John H. Eaves
Harriett G. Darnell, Senior Multipurpose Facility, 677 Fairburn Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30331

Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Commissioner Liz Hausmann (District 1)
Johns Creek High School (Auditorium), 5575 State Bridge Rd, Johns Creek, GA 30022

Monday, June 19, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Commissioner Lee Morris (District 3)
St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, 4393 Garmon Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30327