Rogers said the bill aims at ensuring all Georgia properties are properly assessed at fair market value and that property owners have guaranteed rights to appeal.
"Georgia's property tax system has been in desperate need of reform for decades. With the enactment of this law, property owners will be protected from unfair assessments and have a guaranteed right to appeal," he said. "Georgians ought to know that the system works for them, not against them. We have taken a major step today in protecting property owner rights, but the journey is not finished. I look forward to continuing this effort again next year and beyond."
The overall reform includes more than 50 changes to current state law. Significant taxpayer friendly provisions include:
* Requirement that every property owner receive annual notice of assessment, which guarantees right to appeal
* Every notice of assessment must contain estimated property tax
* Expansion of appeal time-period from 30 to 45 days
* Alternative streamlined appeal option for property valued in excess of $1,000,000
* Automatic taxpayer victory on appeals when government fails to respond within 45 days
* Requirement that all relevant sales, including distress sales, be included when determining fair market value
* Requirement that only "current use of property" be used in determining fair market value
* Taxpayer must be given access to all data used in determining fair market value
* Sales price establishes fair market value for next tax year
SB 346 passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support in the Georgia Senate and House. The property tax assessment and appeals reform bill was a result of a 2009 study committee on property taxes. A report of the study committee hearings can be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/senate/committeereports.htm.