FAQ

FAQ

Here you will find answers to your questions about the appeal process.

Yes. I limit the number of clients that I accept each year so that I can give personal service to that client and so that I can be the person that literally handles your appeal and appears for you at the hearing. When you hire me, you get me!
No. Unlike others who provide this type of service, my service is very personalized to my client. I do not use generalized information to process your appeal. I focus on your particular property and its unique qualities and condition. Where others who provide this service can prepare 5 to 10 appeals in one hour, it takes me 4 to 6 hours to prepare one appeal. That is not because I am slower – it’s a difference of in-depth preparation. 
You will fit into one of 4 scenarios. If you are in Scenarios 1, 2, or 3 I should file an appeal for you. If you are in Scenario 4, most likely, I should not. Here are the four scenarios:

Scenario One: Let’s assume that your assessment is too high – obviously you would want to appeal to try to lower the assessment. No more explanation is needed here.

Scenario Two: Let’s assume that your assessment is very low and you are thrilled with the assessment. In that case you would still want to appeal even though you have a great assessment. The way that I do an appeal for you results in the assessment that I achieve being frozen for three years – the year appealed plus two more years!!. Therefore, if you had a great assessment, you can see the value of filing an appeal – we would not be trying to get the assessment lower – our only purpose would be to “freeze” that great assessment that you have for two additional years and keep the tax assessor from being able to raise your assessment during that period – there are ways you can lose the freeze you are given – for example, if you made an addition to your home – but, by far, most of the time, the freeze remains intact.

Scenario Three: In this example your assessment is about right and you are relatively comfortable with it – we should still appeal – for the same reasons as stated in Scenario Two – even if you feel your assessment is about right, the tax assessor is notorious for always trying to increase the assessment on a taxpayer’s home – especially as the economy begins to recover – by appealing, we can keep the tax assessor at bay for the next two years following the year we appeal – keeping the tax assessor away could save you thousands of dollars.

Scenario Four: This category is where you have already had an appeal and you are in the “frozen” period. In this scenario, I do not normally recommend appealing because appealing during the time your assessment is frozen unfreezes the freeze and you lose the protection that you had – there are some extraordinary circumstances that would warrant filing an appeal under this scenario – like something dramatically happening in your neighborhood that would detrimentally effect the value of your home – but such circumstances would be rare. Therefore, if you are in Scenario 4, I would recommend that you sit tight and enjoy the freeze.

DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett
I take your appeal all the way through the Board of Equalization hearing, unless I am able to negotiate an earlier settlement.
I have more than 20 years of experience as the lead national trial attorney for a worldwide company (GE) – I never lost a case for GE – I have spent more than 1500 hours researching and studying all of the laws and regulations relating to residential tax appeals – I know all of the County personnel that will be involved in your appeal and I have successfully worked with them on numerous cases like yours – I have won tax appeals like yours at both the BOE level and in the Superior Court.
The way I do your appeal results in your new assessment being frozen for 3 years – meaning the Tax Assessor cannot attempt to raise your taxes for three years – the year appealed plus two more years!! The fee for this personalized service is $350 plus 25% of the first year’s tax savings. You keep 75% of your first year’s savings and 100% for the second and third years.
Yes. The notice of assessment is required by law to be sent to you no later than July 1st of each year.
Yes. Your initial appeal is to the Board of Tax Assessors. If they do not agree with your stated value, they can send you a counter offer (new assessment value) or they can forward your appeal to the Board of Equalization.
Hire me or follow the instructions on the notice of assessment that was sent to you by the County. Filing an appeal is not the hard part – successfully handling the appeal is where “difficulty” makes its first appearance.
Yes. You have 45 days from the date of the notice of assessment that was sent to you.
Yes. You can bring as many as you like to the BOE hearing, but they will only look at three – don’t ask me why, I think more is better – especially, if “more” would show a trend – but that’s just me – they only want to see three.
The sale date of each of your comparables should be in the year preceding the year of your appeal.
Common sense rules here – first try to get them from your neighborhood and if that is not available, then as close as you can – the closer the better – but be prepared – the BOA does not always play by common sense rules – they have often gone as far as 2 miles away from your property to find a sale that supports their “value” even if there were plenty of lower value comparables that could have been taken from your neighborhood.
Yes. You have a statutory right to appeal to the Superior Court of DeKalb County. I can file that appeal for you and represent you before the Superior Court but that exceeds my responsibility under our initial engagement. A separate engagement letter is necessary for me to represent you in the Superior Court and I must agree at that time to do so – if I do agree (because I think you have legitimate grounds for the further appeal) – you are not required to pay any additional fees to me but there is a filing fee paid to the Superior Court, which you would have to pay.
When you hire me, YOU ARE DONE! I handle the preparation, hearing, everything… you just need to sit back and relax!
You are not required to bring a professional appraiser with you to the BOE hearing; however, the County will have a professional, licensed appraiser there to represent the County’s position against you.
No. You are not required to have an appraisal prepared by a professional appraiser but the County will have, at the BOE hearing, three professionally prepared appraisals to be used against you.
Each Board of Equalization has three members (judges) that hear your appeal and make a decision as to the value of your property.
Not any more – now you will receive a notice that tells you to appear at either 9:00 am or at 1:00 pm – here is the catch – the County normally operates between 12 and 14 Boards of Equalization – the county schedules 125 people to show up at 9:00 and another 125 to show up at 1:00 – you are herded together like cattle – it’s like you having a Delta Airlines flight at 9:00 am but when you get to your gate at the airport, there are 125 people in line and the plane only has 12 seats. That is not the worst part, it is on a first come, first serve basis – I have known of people getting there at 7:00 am and not being the first in line! You may have to wait 4 hours or more.