The Tax Man cometh for Coweta County

The Tax Man cometh for Coweta County

 

Coweta County will soon begin the two-year process of revaluing 54,000 residential and agricultural parcels in the county. Implementation is expected in the 2020 tax year.

Coweta County commissioners on March 21 unanimously approved the needed paperwork to begin revaluation of approximately 54,000 residential and agricultural parcels, or approximately 95 percent of the total parcels in the county, said Chief Appraiser Mike Marchese.

Marchese said the revaluation process will take up to 24 months, with implementation coming in 2020.

“The last county-wide, door-to-door revaluation of residential and agricultural properties was last conducted for tax year 1991,” Marchese said. “A ‘schedule revaluation’ for these properties was last performed for tax year 2001. A ‘schedule revaluation’ is when underlying data (such as schedules, cost per sq. ft.) is updated without a door-to-door inspection of physical characteristics.

Commercial and Industrial parcels received a revaluation in 2014, said Marchese.

Marchese said the state Department of Revenue makes sure Coweta County keeps appraisals in compliance with the law.

“County boards of tax assessors are required by the state Constitution and state law to continuously maintain assessments of property that are reasonably uniform and that are based on fair market value as defined…the department is required by law to periodically review the county’s digests to assure they are in compliance,” he said.

The tax digest is reviewed for compliance every three years. Failure to meet statistical requirements can trigger penalties. Current penalties include the potential for a $5 per parcel (at current parcel count almost $300,000) penalty and the possibility of not being able to collect taxes until compliance is achieved, Marchese noted.

“Revaluations are an expensive and time-consuming process. There is typically no need to perform a revaluation more than every 10 to 15 years or so. The extended time between the last door-to-door revaluation in 1991 and now results from the fact that about the time the county was gearing up for a new residential and agricultural project in 2008/2009, the economy crashed. It has taken the time since then for our economy to recover,” Marchese said.

Your property value could increase as a result of this process, especially if you have not seen a change for many years, however, this does not mean your taxes will increase, they may, but they may not, said Marchese.

“The county is required to adopt a revenue-neutral millage rate for ‘inflationary growth,’ an increase in value not initiated by a property owner,” he said. “Only new ‘real growth’ generates new tax dollars. Real growth is an increase in value initiated by the property owner such as building or remodeling a home, adding a pool or finishing a basement.”

Marchese said the revaluing process will be handled by GMASS (Georgia Mass Appraisal Solutions and Services). All GMASS appraisers will be required to wear a Coweta County issued identification badge with their name and photo. All vehicles used by GMASS appraisers will have door sign which includes the Coweta County logo and identifies them as Contractor/Appraiser. GMASS appraisers will knock on the door/ring bell before commencing appraisal. If you are still not sure, call the Tax Assessors office at 770-254-2680 to confirm.

You can ask the appraiser to leave your property, however, state law gives the chief assessor or designee the right to “go upon the property outside of buildings, posted or otherwise, in order to carry out the duty of making appraisals…” Appraisers will ask questions regarding the interior finish in order to make the best determination of value, but cannot enter without your approval. Should you decide not to cooperate, a value will still be developed for your property, but the likelihood that the value would be incorrect is increased.

Should you not agree with your appraisal, you can always file an appeal within 45 days of the notice date.

A list of FAQ’s concerning this project will be posted on the County website www.coweta.ga.us as well as on the County Facebook page www.facebook.com/cowetacounty