Monday, February 1, 2010

Senator Rogers Announces Major Overhaul of Georgia Property Tax System

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) today announced a much-needed overhaul of Georgia’s property tax system. After collecting information and input from property owners, assessors and local governments, Rogers presented a property tax assessment and appeals reform bill with more than 40 changes to the tax system.

“The collection of taxes should be fair, transparent, and easy to understand. Sadly, the property tax in Georgia accomplishes none of these things. This legislation attempts to bring fairness to an unfair system,” said Rogers. “Georgians from all over the state created this legislation. During my eight years I have never witnessed an issue where everyone agreed the current system is broken. We have had hundreds of suggestions for change. The more than 40 changes represented in this bill represent the will of the people and will bring needed relief to property owners.”

Property values in Georgia have fallen drastically over the past few years. Assessed values have not kept pace, resulting in property taxes for many property owners being artificially high. Rogers created and chaired the Property Tax Assessment Committee to look into the issue. Homeowners, business owners, tax assessors, and property lawyers testified to present the flaws, challenges and suggested solutions to the system. As a result, Rogers worked with everyone in the industry and achieved bi-partisan support to overhaul Georgia’s property tax system.

“Ultimately, the property tax must be eliminated. However, the political will for a complete and drastic repeal is not possible at this time. That sort of change takes place gradually and this is just the beginning,” said Rogers.

Changes to the assessment and appeals system include year-round assessment appeals, all comparable sales including foreclosures and banks sales must be applied, and the “view factor” will be eliminated as a way to determine value. The proposed changes to assessments and appeals relieve burdens from property owners, but also achieve efficiency for the process and for county governments.

Property Tax Assessment & Appeals Reform Highlights

Year-round property assessment appeals
Every property shall receive notice of assessment every year
Statewide uniformity of assessment notice & appeal forms
Sales price of “Arms-Length” transactions shall be maximum assessed value for following tax period
Tax assessor shall apply all comparable sales including foreclosures and bank sales
Allow counties to accept payment plans for property taxes
Allow for Commercial Appraisers to substitute for Board of Equalization on Commercial properties
Establish time limits for assessor action in response to appeals
Department of Revenue shall update assessor guidelines and training no less than once every five years and all info shall be placed online
View Factor shall not be used to determine value
Unanimous vote by Board of Equalization members required to increase assessed value
Current Use and not “Highest and Best” value shall be used to determine current assessed value

Sen. Chip Rogers serves as Senate Majority Leader. He represents the 21st Senate District which includes portions of Cherokee and Cobb counties. He can be reached at his office at 404.463.1378 or by email at
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