On the tentative date of May 28, 2021, the Emanuel County Board of Tax Assessors’ Office will send out Notice of Assessments (NOA’S) to everyone who owns property in Emanuel County, Georgia, just as they have in past years. However, this year will be different, - significantly different.
For the past 3 years, the Emanuel County Board of Tax Assessors has been busy conducting a comprehensive county-wide revaluation of all property located in Emanuel County. This revaluation involves all classes of property, including Residential, Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Properties. This is a monumental task that can only be correctly accomplished by visiting and reappraising every single parcel of property and all of the components within Emanuel County. This includes making thousands of mathematical adjustments and various computations to the many schedules and tables that make mass appraisal possible. The last time the BOA attempted a complete revaluation was in 2008. That attempt was thwarted by the 2008 housing market crash when all BOA updated values were replaced by the previous year’s values and then frozen by a 3-year legislative moratorium.
After losing half of the BOA staff to other counties, and as property values started thawing out after the 3-year freeze, property values started fluctuating across the county in uneven patterns. These irregular patterns soon created a lack of uniformity in assessment values, which usually happens over a long period of time in large rural counties with limited staffing. After analyzing the situation, it became apparent that the BOA’s office needed quick, seasoned professional appraisal help for a complete county-wide revaluation. Finding seasoned, professional appraisal help in an open rural market can be extremely difficult and costly to find. They must possess extensive appraisal knowledge and have qualified certifications that take years to accomplish and master. After contacting several comparable counties, the decision was made to go with a contractor that has a large variety of specially skilled professionals that could help with Emanuel County’s particular needs to move the county forward in its quest for uniformity in assessment valuations. All counties in the State of Georgia, including Emanuel County, use various contractors in order to complete a yearly digest. Without them a timely and compliant digest would be impossible.
After considering several options, the decision was made to hire the appraisal contractor, GMASS (Georgia Mass Appraisal Solutions & Services). They are located just west of Thompson, Georgia. They have specialized tools and algorithms that are extremely helpful and affordable for most rural counties. Most of their management team are former Department of Revenue field agents who worked with Emanuel County in prior years. Together, they have created an equitable valuation of property in Emanuel County that is both fair and uniform, while meeting the required standards set by both state law and the Constitution of Georgia.
As was stated earlier, this year will be a significantly different year. The difference is that almost every taxpayer in Emanuel County will see a change in value designated on their tax notice and noted as (FMV/Assessed Value). Some properties will notice an increase of value and some properties will notice a decrease of value. Some property values may even change significantly. These established values are market based and market driven within Emanuel County. The assessed value found on the property tax notice is tied directly to the county’s millage rate resulting in a property tax bill. The good news for all of Emanuel County is that holding true to their conservative values, the Emanuel County Board of Commissioners is committed to rolling back the millage rate to keep taxes on existing property at or below current collections.
As a property owner, now would be a good time to figure out your property’s Fair Market Value. Fair Market Value means ‘the amount a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for the property at an arms-length agreement’. You can easily start by searching for properties that are comparable to your property (Size, Age, Condition, Quality, and Location). The tax assessor’s office has records of property sales and comparable properties for the property owner to view online through Emanuel County QPublic. There are also multiple helpful real estate listing sites found online such as Zillow, Trulia, Homesnap, and Redfin that have property for sale that may be used as comparables. You can also hire a local property or fee appraiser who can either advise you of your property’s value or complete a full fee appraisal report on your property’s fair market value. Either way it would be helpful to know what your asking price (highest price) might be and what your lowest price accepted (lowest price) might be.
If your property’s tax value on your assessment notice falls outside the parameters of these two values, you should consider appealing to the Emanuel County Board of Tax Assessors. The grounds for an appeal are as follows: Value, Uniformity, Taxability, Exemptions Denied, Breach of Covenants, and Denial of a Covenant. You must select one of the pathway options for an appeal: (1) Board of Equalization (BOE), with an appeal path to the Supreme Court; (2) Arbitration (Value only), with an appeal path to the Supreme Court; (3) Hearing Officer (Must meet certain criteria; and (4) SC (Superior Court) With BOA consent.
There are various ways to appeal your properties tax assessment. They are as follows:
1- By Phone (Staff may direct you to the online form PT-311A).
2- A physical visit to the office (May have to wait in long lines).
3- Mail (U.S. Postal Service) Letter with appropriate information found on T/A website).
4- Emanuel County QPublic Website (Go to the Website and click on the following buttons)
B. Click Here (Found under ‘Many forms’).
C. PT-311A (Appeal of Assessment Form).
D. Download and fill out the above form (PT-311A) and send to T/A office.
E. For more information search under (FAQ) frequently asked questions.
5- Emanuel County’s Official Website (Click the following buttons)
B. Quick Links – “Emanuel County Board of Assessors”
C. Same steps as above (B through E)
6- Online fillable forms with easy and safe electronically forwarding capabilities.
A. Go to Emanuel County QPublic Website or qpublic.net/ga/emanuel
B. Go to “Assessment Appeals Module”.
C. Generate an appeal by clicking on the “Assessment Appeals Petition”.
D. Choose grounds for your appeal (Value, Uniformity, Taxability, etc.).
E. Click the “Comparable Search Module” to find comparable properties to your own.
F. To continue the appeal, click on “Appeal Form” and enter the required information.
G. After you have completed your appeal, click the submit button to send the
Assessment Appeal to the Board of Assessor’s Office.
Remember that you only have 45 days to appeal your tax notice from the mailing date on your tax notice to the U.S. Postal Services postmark date. (No third-party metered mail date will be accepted). If you have any questions concerning the appeals process, please notify the Emanuel County Tax Assessor’s Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone @ 478-237-1222 on Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.