Taxpayers using returns to fight high property values - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Taxpayers using returns to fight high property values

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Time is running out for you to question your property assessment and perhaps lower your tax bill.

Many property owners don't know they can file a property tax return. It's basically a statement of what you think your property value is. If the Board of Assessors agrees, your property value and taxes go down and remain fixed for three years. A Dougherty County government watchdog group is urging people to overwhelm the tax office with those appeals, but the deadline is Thursday.

The Dougherty County Taxpayers Association claims 15 percent of the population in the county is shouldering the primary tax burden through property taxes. When we crunched the numbers, it turns 28 percent of people own property. If you want to try to get your taxes lowered, all it takes is this simple one page form.

Property owners like the Arnold's are arriving in a steady stream at Richard Thomas' office, in search of a simple form, that could potentially save them a lot of money.

"If I can do anything to lower the property taxes I will do it, I think they're much to high," said Beverly Arnold, a homeowner.

"It's a one page form, it's very simple to fill out, that take about two minutes and they can transfer information from their property tax notice over to here and then give an estimated value of what it's worth," said Richard Thomas, Dougherty County Taxpayers Association.

Plain and simple it allows the property owner to tell the Board of Assessors what they think their home is worth.

"The board of assessors will review that value and if they agree with the taxpayers value then they'll accept that," said Denver Collins-Hooten, the Tax Director.

If not...

"They would send a notice of assessment which would give the taxpayer 45 days and the opportunity to appeal that value that the Board of assessors has on the property," said Hooten.

The Dougherty County Taxpayers Association says it's a property owners chance to let government officials know they've had enough.

"This is your chance if you own property in Dougherty County this is your chance to file your vote and resist, government waste, government spending and excess taxation," said Thomas.

Many feel nothing ventured, nothing gained.

"Oh definitely, anything's worth a try," said Arnold.

Helping the Arnold's in the long run on their tax bill or if they try to sell.

The Dougherty County Taxpayer Association has had so many requests for the forms, they're holding a meeting to answer home owners questions and help them fill out the forms.

That meeting is Tuesday night at 6:30 PM at the Hasan Temple on Palmyra Road.

The taxpayers group leaders say they are opposed to wasteful government spending and inefficiency, but the tax director says an influx of appeals will cost her office more and slow down their work.


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