HB 286 - Tax assessment appeals; interest

Georgia House of Representatives - 1995/1996 Sessions

HB 286 - Tax assessment appeals; interest

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House Comm: W&M / Senate Comm: / House Vote: Yeas Nays Senate Vote: Yeas Nays ---------------------------------------- House Action Senate ---------------------------------------- 1/23/95 Read 1st Time 1/24/95 Read 2nd Time ---------------------------------------- Code Sections amended:
HB 286 LC 16 3889 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT 1- 1 To amend Code Section 48-5-311 of the Official Code of 1- 2 Georgia Annotated, relating to county boards of equalization 1- 3 and review and appeals of property tax assessments, so as to 1- 4 provide that interest shall accrue on any additional taxes 1- 5 determined to be owed from the date of the final decision on 1- 6 appeal; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. 1- 7 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA: SECTION 1. 1- 8 Code Section 48-5-311 of the Official Code of Georgia 1- 9 Annotated, relating to county boards of equalization and 1-10 review and appeals of property tax assessments, is amended 1-11 by striking subsections (e) and (g) in their entirety and 1-12 inserting in lieu thereof new subsections (e) and (g) to 1-13 read as follows: 1-14 "(e) Appeal. 1-15 (1) Any resident or nonresident taxpayer may appeal from 1-16 an assessment by the county board of tax assessors to 1-17 the county board of equalization or to an arbitrator or 1-18 arbitrators as to matters of taxability, uniformity of 1-19 assessment, and value, and, for residents, as to denials 1-20 of homestead exemptions. Appeals to the county board of 1-21 equalization shall be conducted in the manner provided 1-22 in paragraph (2) of this subsection. Appeals to an 1-23 arbitrator or arbitrators shall be conducted in the 1-24 manner specified in subsection (f) of this Code section. 1-25 (2)(A) An appeal shall be effected by mailing to or 1-26 filing with the county board of tax assessors a notice 1-27 of appeal within 45 days from the date of mailing the 1-28 notice pursuant to Code Section 48-5-306 except that 1-29 for counties or municipal corporations providing for 1-30 the collection and payment of ad valorem taxes in 1-31 installments the time for filing the notice of appeal 1-32 shall be 30 days. A written objection to an 1-33 assessment of real property received by a county board -1- (Index) LC 16 3889 2- 1 of tax assessors stating the location of the real 2- 2 property and the identification number, if any, 2- 3 contained in the tax notice shall be deemed a notice 2- 4 of appeal by the taxpayer under the grounds listed in 2- 5 paragraph (1) of this subsection. Any such notice of 2- 6 appeal which is mailed pursuant to this subparagraph 2- 7 shall be deemed to be filed as of the date of the 2- 8 United States Postal Service postmark on such notice 2- 9 of appeal. A written objection to an assessment of 2-10 personal property received by a county board of tax 2-11 assessors giving the account number, if any, contained 2-12 in the tax notice and stating that the objection is to 2-13 an assessment of personal property shall be deemed a 2-14 notice of appeal by the taxpayer under the grounds 2-15 listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection. The 2-16 county board of tax assessors shall review the 2-17 valuation or denial in question and, if any changes or 2-18 corrections are made in the valuation or decision in 2-19 question, the board shall send a notice of the changes 2-20 or corrections to the taxpayer pursuant to Code 2-21 Section 48-5-306. Such notice shall also explain the 2-22 taxpayer's right to appeal to the county board of 2-23 equalization as provided in subparagraph (C) of this 2-24 paragraph if the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the 2-25 changes or corrections made by the county board of tax 2-26 assessors. 2-27 (B) If no changes or corrections are made in the 2-28 valuation or decision, the county board of tax 2-29 assessors shall send written notice thereof to the 2-30 taxpayer and to the county board of equalization which 2-31 notice shall also constitute the taxpayer's appeal to 2-32 the county board of equalization without the necessity 2-33 of the taxpayer's filing any additional notice of 2-34 appeal to the county board of tax assessors or to the 2-35 county board of equalization. The county board of 2-36 tax assessors shall also send or deliver all necessary 2-37 papers to the county board of equalization. 2-38 (C) If changes or corrections are made by the county 2-39 board of tax assessors, the board shall notify the 2-40 taxpayer in writing of such changes. If the taxpayer 2-41 is dissatisfied with such changes or corrections, the 2-42 taxpayer shall, within 21 days of the date of mailing 2-43 of the change notice, institute an appeal to the 2-44 county board of equalization by mailing to or filing 2-45 with the county board of tax assessors a written -2- (Index) LC 16 3889 3- 1 notice of appeal. Any such notice of appeal which is 3- 2 mailed pursuant to this subparagraph shall be deemed 3- 3 to be filed as of the date of the United States Postal 3- 4 Service postmark on such notice of appeal. The county 3- 5 board of tax assessors shall send or deliver the 3- 6 notice of appeal and all necessary papers to the 3- 7 county board of equalization. 3- 8 (3) In any year in which no county-wide reevaluation is 3- 9 implemented, the county board of tax assessors shall 3-10 make its determination and notify the taxpayer within 3-11 180 days after receipt of the taxpayer's notice of 3-12 appeal. If the county board of tax assessors fails to 3-13 respond to the taxpayer within such 180 day period 3-14 during such year, the appeal shall be automatically 3-15 referred to the county board of equalization. This 3-16 paragraph shall not apply to any county whose digest for 3-17 the current year cannot be approved by the commissioner 3-18 pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 48-5-304. 3-19 (4) The determination by the county board of tax 3-20 assessors of questions of fact shall be prima-facie 3-21 correct in any appeal to the county board of 3-22 equalization. 3-23 (5)(A) The county board of equalization shall 3-24 determine all questions presented to it on the basis 3-25 of the best information available to the board. 3-26 (B) The commissioner, by regulation, may adopt uniform 3-27 procedures and standards which, when approved by the 3-28 State Board of Equalization, shall be followed by 3-29 county boards of equalization in determining appeals. 3-30 (6)(A) Within 15 days of the receipt of the notice of 3-31 appeal, the county board of equalization shall set a 3-32 date for a hearing on the questions presented and 3-33 shall so notify the taxpayer and the county board of 3-34 tax assessors in writing. A taxpayer may appear 3-35 before the board concerning any appeal in person, by 3-36 his or her authorized agent or representative, or 3-37 both. The taxpayer shall specify in writing to the 3-38 board the name of any such agent or representative 3-39 prior to any appearance by the agent or representative 3-40 before the board. 3-41 (B) Within 30 days of the date of notification to the 3-42 taxpayer of the hearing required in this paragraph but 3-43 not earlier than 20 days from the date of such -3- (Index) LC 16 3889 4- 1 notification to the taxpayer, the county board of 4- 2 equalization shall hold such hearing to determine the 4- 3 questions presented. 4- 4 (C) If more than one contiguous property of a taxpayer 4- 5 is under appeal, the board of equalization shall, upon 4- 6 request of the taxpayer, consolidate all such appeals 4- 7 in one hearing and render separate decisions as to 4- 8 each parcel or item of property. Any appeal from such 4- 9 a consolidated board of equalization hearing to the 4-10 superior court as provided in this subsection shall 4-11 constitute a single civil action, and, unless the 4-12 taxpayer specifically so indicates in his or her 4-13 notice of appeal, shall apply to all such parcels or 4-14 items of property. 4-15 (D)(i) The decision of the county board of 4-16 equalization shall be in writing, shall be signed by 4-17 each member of the board, shall specifically decide 4-18 each question presented by the appeal, shall specify 4-19 the reason or reasons for each such decision as to 4-20 the specific issues of taxability, uniformity of 4-21 assessment, value, or denial of homestead exemptions 4-22 depending upon the specific issue or issues raised 4-23 by the taxpayer in the course of his or her appeal, 4-24 shall state that with respect to the appeal no 4-25 member of the board is disqualified from acting by 4-26 virtue of subsection (i) of this Code section, and 4-27 shall certify the date on which notice of the 4-28 decision is given to the parties. Notice of the 4-29 decision shall be given to each party by sending a Fuddnty;d�?�q@d�?�q@dQ ?�q@d� ?�q@d ?�q@d� ?�q@d� ? 4-31 to the appellant and by filing the original copy of 4-32 the decision with the county board of tax assessors. 4-33 Each of the three members of the county board of 4-34 equalization must be present and must participate in 4-35 the deliberations on any appeal. A majority vote 4-36 shall be required in any matter. All three members 4-37 of the board must sign the decision indicating their 4-38 vote. 4-39 (ii) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph 4-40 (g)(4)(B) of this Code section, the county board of 4-41 tax assessors shall use the valuation of the county 4-42 board of equalization in compiling the tax digest 4-43 for the county for the year in question and shall 4-44 indicate such valuation as the previous year's value -4- (Index) LC 16 3889 5- 1 on the property tax notice of assessment of such 5- 2 taxpayer for the immediately following year rather 5- 3 than substituting the valuation which was changed by 5- 4 the county board of equalization. 5- 5 (iii)(I) If the county's tax bills are issued 5- 6 before the county board of equalization has 5- 7 rendered its decision on property which is on 5- 8 appeal, the county board of tax assessors shall 5- 9 specify to the county tax commissioner the higher 5-10 of the taxpayer's return valuation or 85 percent 5-11 of the current year's valuation as set by the 5-12 county board of tax assessors. This amount shall 5-13 be the basis for a temporary tax bill to be 5-14 issued. Such tax bill shall be accompanied by a 5-15 notice to the taxpayer that the bill is a 5-16 temporary tax bill pending the outcome of the 5-17 appeal process. Such notice shall also indicate 5-18 that upon resolution of the appeal, there may be 5-19 additional taxes due or a refund issued. 5-20 (II) If the final determination of the value on 5-21 appeal is less than the valuation thus used, the 5-22 taxpayer shall receive a deduction in such 5-23 taxpayer's taxes for the year in question. Such 5-24 deduction shall be refunded to the taxpayer and 5-25 shall include interest on the amount of such 5-26 deduction at the same rate as specified in Code 5-27 Section 48-2-35 which shall accrue from November 5-28 15 of the taxable year in question or the date the 5-29 final installment of the tax was due or was paid, 5-30 whichever is later. In no event shall the amount 5-31 of such interest exceed $150.00. 5-32 (III) If the final determination of value on 5-33 appeal is greater than the valuation thus used, 5-34 the taxpayer shall be liable for the increase in 5-35 taxes for the year in question due to the 5-36 increased valuation fixed on appeal with interest 5-37 at the rate as specified in Code Section 48-2-35. 5-38 Such interest shall accrue from November 15 of the 5-39 taxable year in question or the date the final 5-40 installment of the tax was due the date of the 5-41 final decision on appeal to the date the 5-42 additional taxes are remitted, but in no event 5-43 shall such interest accrue for a period of more 5-44 than 180 days. Any taxpayer shall be exempt each -5- (Index) LC 16 3889 6- 1 taxable year from any such interest owed under 6- 2 this subdivision with respect to such taxpayer's 6- 3 homestead property. 6- 4 (7) The county governing authority shall furnish the 6- 5 county board of equalization necessary facilities and 6- 6 secretarial and clerical help. The secretary of the 6- 7 county board of tax assessors shall see that the records 6- 8 and information of the county board of tax assessors are 6- 9 transmitted to the county board of equalization. The 6-10 county board of equalization must consider in the 6-11 performance of its duties the information furnished by 6-12 the county board of tax assessors and the taxpayer. 6-13 (8) The taxpayer or his or her agent or representative 6-14 may submit in support of his or her appeal the most 6-15 current report of the sales ratio study for the county 6-16 conducted pursuant to Code Section 48-5-274. The board 6-17 must consider the study upon any such request." 6-18 "(g) Appeals to the superior court. 6-19 (1) The taxpayer or, except as otherwise provided in 6-20 this paragraph, the county board of tax assessors may 6-21 appeal decisions of the county board of equalization, 6-22 the arbitrator, or the arbitrators, as applicable, to 6-23 the superior court of the county in which the property 6-24 lies. A county board of tax assessors may not appeal a 6-25 decision of the county board of equalization changing an 6-26 assessment by 15 percent or less unless the board of tax 6-27 assessors gives the county governing authority a written 6-28 notice of its intention to appeal and within ten days of 6-29 receipt of the notice the county governing authority by 6-30 majority vote does not prohibit the appeal. In the case 6-31 of a joint city-county board of tax assessors, such 6-32 notice shall be given to the city and county governing 6-33 authorities, either of which may prohibit the appeal by 6-34 majority vote within the allowed period of time. 6-35 (2) An appeal by the taxpayer as provided in paragraph 6-36 (1) of this subsection shall be effected by mailing to 6-37 or filing with the county board of tax assessors a 6-38 written notice of appeal. Any such notice of appeal 6-39 which is mailed pursuant to this paragraph shall be 6-40 deemed to be filed as of the date of the United States 6-41 Postal Service postmark on such notice of appeal. An 6-42 appeal by the county board of tax assessors shall be 6-43 effected by giving notice to the taxpayer. The notice -6- (Index) LC 16 3889 7- 1 to the taxpayer shall be dated and shall contain the 7- 2 name and the last known address of the taxpayer. The 7- 3 notice of appeal shall specifically state the grounds 7- 4 for appeal. The notice shall be mailed or filed within 7- 5 30 days from the date on which the decision of the 7- 6 county board of equalization is mailed pursuant to 7- 7 subparagraph (e)(6)(D) of this Code section or within 30 7- 8 days from the date on which the arbitration decision is 7- 9 rendered pursuant to subparagraph (f)(3)(D) of this Code 7-10 section, whichever is applicable. The county board of 7-11 tax assessors shall certify to the clerk of the superior 7-12 court the notice of appeal and any other papers 7-13 specified by the person appealing including, but not 7-14 limited to, the staff information from the file used by 7-15 either the county board of tax assessors or the county 7-16 board of equalization. All papers and information 7-17 certified to the clerk shall become a part of the record 7-18 on appeal to the superior court. At the time of 7-19 certification of the appeal, the county board of tax 7-20 assessors shall serve the taxpayer or his or her 7-21 attorney or agent of record with a copy of the notice of 7-22 appeal and with the civil action file number assigned to 7-23 the appeal. Such service shall be effected in 7-24 accordance with subsection (b) of Code Section 9-11-5. 7-25 No discovery, motions, or other pleadings may be filed 7-26 by the county board of tax assessors in the appeal until 7-27 such service has been made. 7-28 (3) The appeal shall constitute a de novo action. 7-29 (4)(A) The appeal shall be heard before a jury at the 7-30 first term following the filing of the appeal unless 7-31 continued by the court upon a showing of good cause. If 7-32 only questions of law are presented in the appeal, the 7-33 appeal shall be heard as soon as practicable before the 7-34 court sitting without a jury. Each hearing before the 7-35 court sitting without a jury shall be held within 40 7-36 days following the date on which the appeal is filed 7-37 with the clerk of the superior court. 7-38 (B) The county board of tax assessors shall use the 7-39 valuation of the county board of equalization in 7-40 compiling the tax digest for the county. If the final 7-41 determination of value on appeal is less than the 7-42 valuation set by the county board of equalization, the 7-43 arbitrator, or the arbitrators, as applicable, the 7-44 taxpayer shall receive a deduction in his or her taxes -7- (Index) LC 16 3889 8- 1 for the year in question. Such deduction shall be 8- 2 refunded to the taxpayer and shall include interest on 8- 3 the amount of such deduction at the same rate as 8- 4 specified in Code Section 48-2-35 which shall accrue 8- 5 from November 15 of the taxable year in question or 8- 6 the date the final installment of the tax was due or 8- 7 was paid, whichever is later. In no event shall the 8- 8 amount of such interest exceed $150.00. If the final 8- 9 determination of value on appeal is greater than the 8-10 valuation set by the county board of equalization, the 8-11 arbitrator, or the arbitrators, as applicable, the 8-12 taxpayer shall be liable for the increase in taxes for 8-13 the year in question due to the increased valuation 8-14 fixed on appeal with interest at the same rate as 8-15 specified in Code Section 48-2-35. Such interest 8-16 shall accrue from November 15 of the taxable year in 8-17 question or the date the final installment of tax was 8-18 due the date of the final decision on appeal to the 8-19 date the additional taxes are remitted, but in no 8-20 event shall such interest accrue for a period of more 8-21 than 180 days. Any taxpayer shall be exempt each 8-22 taxable year from any such interest owed under this 8-23 subparagraph with respect to such taxpayer's homestead 8-24 property." SECTION 2. 8-25 All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are 8-26 repealed. -8- (Index)

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