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Georgia Approves Tax Law Changes

by Paul Miller, Atlanta, May 2015

 

Taxpayers who win their assessment appeal will have their property value frozen for the year appealed and two following years under new legislation approved by the Georgia General Assembly.

 

House Bill 202 also makes a series of revisions to the tax code involving tax refunds and payments. Governor Nathan Deal is expected to sign the bill into law.

 

Appeal Results

 

A key provision of HB 202 prevents the board of tax assessors from increasing the value of appealed properties for the next two successive years.

 

There are some exceptions to the rule. It does not apply if:

 

  • Taxpayers fail to provide written evidence supporting their opinion of value

  • A return with a different valuation is filed during the two-year time period

  • Substantial improvements are made to the property

  • There are errors in the description or characterization of the property

  • There are other material factors that currently affect the fair market value of the property

 

Refunds and Payments

 

Other changes from HB 202 involve appealed property refunds and payments. Refunds must be paid by the tax commissioner within 60 days from the date of the final determination of value. The refund accrues interest from the due date or the date paid, whichever is later. Interest cannot exceed $5,000 for non-homestead property.

 

If the final property value causes an increase in taxes, the additional amount is paid to the tax commissioner the same as any tax due. Property owners have 60 days from the date of the notice postmark to make full payment. After that, interest will accrue and if the payment becomes past due, other fees and penalties apply.

 

HB 202 will be implemented in stages with some sections effective immediately, others effective as of July 1, 2015 and other sections effective as of January 1, 2016. The sections regarding appeal results, refunds and payments are applicable to appeals filed after January 1, 2016.