It’s been about a month since tax assessment notices were sent to Forsyth County property owners and so far, officials say, the feedback’s been unusually slow.
Chief Tax Appraiser Mary Kirkpatrick said less than 800 appeals have been received, compared to more than 5,000 last year.
“Actually, it’s not as many as we anticipated,” she said. “I would have thought we’d have had more than we have now with all the notices going out.
“Either people are waiting until later to file, or they’re understanding the notices well and everything’s going really good.”
In previous years, tax assessment notices were sent only to those whose property values had changed.
This year, however, a new state law mandated that assessors send a notice to every homeowner.
In Forsyth, nearly 66,000 of the some 77,500 notices that went out April 15 showed a drop in assessed property value.
Assessed value is 40 percent of actual market value.
Kirkpatrick said the sudden drop in such a large percentage of the county’s homes has occurred because the department had been focusing on land values in the past couple years.
This year “seemed like a good time” to start depreciating home values, she said.
Combined, the efforts of the last few years “have ended up lowering practically everything in the county.”
While the decreases will lower the tax burden on property owners, the county’s tax digest, or value of all properties, has dropped from about $8.6 billion to about $8.4 billion.
As a result, the county and local school system will have less tax revenue with which to operate.
Kirkpatrick said the digest could drop further if more people send in appeals by the May 31 deadline.
“We do anticipate a big rush at the end,” she said. “But so far, we’re running on course for what I’d consider a normal year.”