Tax office deals with double normal workload - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tax office deals with double normal workload

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Dougherty County Tax Office workers are reviewing more than a thousand property tax returns. Upset taxpayers inundated the office with the forms by the April first deadline, hoping to get their property assessments lowered.

the tax office received double the amount of tax return forms than they did last year. It's likely inspectors will go out and visit each one of those properties in an effort to determine if they're over-valued.

In the Albany-Dougherty Tax office they're busy. The 600 forms they received last year has turned into 1500 this year. 

"Each one of those will have to be keyed in individually, the appraisal staff will have to review them categorize them and then assimilate them for recommendation to the board of assessors," said Tax Director  Denver Collins-Hooten.

Each of those properties will likely get a visit from an assessor. "We'll be on overload but they'll work through it may take most of the summer and our schedule won't be as far along as we normally would be at this time, but they'll get it done," said Collins-Hooten. 

Real Estate experts warn property owners not to be shocked if their values aren't lowered. Dougherty County hasn't seen the price swing other areas of the state has. "The median price of a house has fallen, but that basically does not mean house values have dropped," said Gary Eller, Albany Board of Realtors President.

Meaning lower priced homes are selling, likely because of the first time home buyer program. "We never really had the artificial balloon that a lot of markets had," said Eller.

If the property owners value isn't lowered, they can appeal, but you've got to back up you claim and that involved, paying for an appraisal, finding like sales to back up your claim or putting you home on the market to see what someone it willing to pay.

The tax office expects most property owners who filed a return should get a letter from the Board of Assessors by the end of May or beginning of June concerning their findings, after that the appeal process begins.

Tax officials say they received returns from all across the county, and not any one particular area of the city or county.

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