The topic of the meeting was Assessments, Appraisals, and Appeals. The co-presenters were Shane Hix, the new Chief Appraiser for Hart County, and Bill Fogerty, President of HCPOA. Richard Byrum of American Pest Control sponsored a social hour with refreshments.
Assessment Notice: Each property in Hart County received an assessment notice sent to the property owner. The notice includes the appraised value and the net taxable value with exemptions noted. The tax is based on the current millage, not 2023 millage. The new millage will be calculated in the fall by BOC and BOE once the digest is completed.
First, take a look at your assessment. If the property owner feels it is too high, they can visit the appraiser's office on Cade St and sit down with one of the staff. Ask the question, "How did you get this number?" Additionally, obtain a copy of the property record card, which includes all key data about the property, including land, improvement (home), and accessory information. A property card is also available for watercraft. If a mistake is obvious, it is quite possible that an adjustment can be made during this meeting.
When reviewing the property record card, ask yourself if this is really your property. Check the size, condition, age, and characteristics. The staff can define and explain these details.
The next step is to file an appeal. This guarantees that the property owner has a chance to officially challenge the value set by the appraiser. The appeal can be filed at the office, and the staff will provide the necessary form tied to the property. THE APPEAL MUST BE FILED BY AUGUST 7, 2023, AT THE OFFICE.
The appeal will be heard by three members of the Board of Equalization in the September/October time frame. They will weigh the evidence provided by the appellant and the appraiser and make a decision of value based on the Preponderance of Evidence. If a new value is determined, it will be in effect for the current year and the following two years. If the appellant does not win, the current value will remain and be frozen for the following two years.
The key to a successful appeal is EVIDENCE, EVIDENCE, EVIDENCE. This requires some research into the mass appraisal process the appraiser uses. Generally, the house value is determined by the replacement cost new and depreciation on January 1st of the tax year. Land values depend on characteristics and location. Each lake lot has been rated qualitatively, and sales are used to establish a value. Most of these elements are noted on the property record card, such as heated sq feet, condition, grade, and year built for houses, and dockability, location, water, and view for land. The appraisal staff can provide any of their documents used.
Filing for the appeal is a must if you want to have your value reconsidered. It costs nothing, and until your meeting is scheduled, there is really no commitment. There is plenty of time after August 7th to research and build a case.
HCPOA will focus on appeal strategy and property elements and their determination at the next meeting on Monday, August 21st.