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Requests to reassess on the rise
Deadline to seek review is April 1
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Forsyth County News
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To file a tax return on a home in Forsyth County, go online at, select Tax Assessor’s Office under the Departments tab.
More than 400 homeowners have asked Forsyth County to take a second look at the value of their property.

But Tax Assessor Mary Kirkpatrick expects hundreds, if not thousands, more to join them before the April 1 deadline to request a reassessment. 

“There seems to be a general attitude that the economy took a nosedive and ‘my property value should be lowered because nothing is worth what it was worth,’” she said.

Reassessment requests can be filed between Jan. 1 and April 1. A home’s assessed value is used to determine property taxes.

Last year, more than 6,000 reassessment requests were filed. In a typical year, there may be 500, Kirkpatrick said.

Of those 6,000 requests filed last year, about 2,000 led to lower assessments, and about 750 were withdrawn, she said. Another 3,000 or so went through the appeals process.

The good news for property owners is that home assessments cannot increase until 2012, thanks to a three-year moratorium the state legislature enacted last year.

The Board of Tax Assessors will review the reassessment requests after April 1.

The board can either agree and lower the value, or disagree, giving the homeowner the right to appeal.

The assessor’s office will send its review in May, and homeowners have 45 days to decide whether to accept or appeal the value.

The appeals process can be lengthy. Kirkpatrick said her office just finished appeals filed from last year.

In some cases, however, the savings could be worth it.

If a property is assessed $20,000 higher than it should be, for example, she said it could save nearly $200 a year in taxes.

Mack McClain, chief appraiser and owner of North Georgia Residential Appraisals, said property values in some areas have dropped as much as 15 percent.

“They want their tax assessments to show that too,” he said. “There are definitely more people trying to check and see if there was anything they could do as far as getting an appraisal done to fight the assessment the tax assessor put on the home.”

More people are having their properties appraised than in years past, McClain said.

But while counties like Clayton, south of Atlanta, have seen high rates of foreclosure and drops in property value, he said Forsyth is holding steady for the most part.

McClain said a standard house would cost about $275 or $300 to appraise, so it’s important to do some homework first.

While the property value of a house may be lower than when it was bought, both McClain and Kirkpatrick stressed that the most recent assessment is likely to be lower than fair market value.

“In a typical market, the assessments were always lower than what the fair market value of the house was,” McClain said. “Now it’s coming in to be right on or below.”