Chattooga County Property Assessors Website

ASSESSMENT NOTICE EXPLAINED

Appealing a change in Value based on UNIFORMITY OF ASSESSMENT

Sorry, I searched the Department of Revenue's site for this topic, and other than this, I couldn't find anything. What follows is my attempt to explain this concept in english (and I'll warn you now ... I probably won't succeed).

     In the simplest terms, to appeal based on uniformity of assessment (or more accurately lack of uniformity of assessment) is to contend that the Assessors Office is not valuing all properties at a uniform percentage of their fair market value.

     In Georgia, property is required to be assessed at 40% of its fair market value unless otherwise specified by law. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-7) The theory behind "Uniformity of Assessment" contends that, no matter how widely diverse the fair market value of properties may be, the percentage relationship between their tax assessments (the value that actually shows on our tax digest) and what such properties typically sell for should be very similar.

     An appeal claiming lack of uniformity in assessment does not argue that your property is valued high in relation to what it would sell for (that's an appeal based on Market Value ), rather it argues that other properites are valued too low. These types of appeals argue one of two (or both) positions:

  1. Lack of Uniformity within property categories, and
  2. Lack of Uniformity across property categories.

NOTE: The Department of Revenue divides all the property in our county into 10 categories (or strata to use the technical term). Those categories are: Residential, Agricultural, Commercial, Historic, Transitional, Industrial, Conservation, Preferential, Public Utility, and Exempt.

  To appeal based on a lack of uniformity within property categories is to say that your house, boat, vacant lot, or whatever, is not assessed consistently with other houses, boats, vacant lots or whatever in the county. To illustrate, let's say that we have land in your subdivision valued at $4,000 an acre. A look at sales over the last year or so indicate that land has been selling at $4,300 per acre. At $4,000 per acre these properties are assessed at 37.21% of their fair market value (4000 X 0.4 = 1600 / 4300 = 0.3721).

     Now let's look at a second subdivision. We have the land there valued at an outrageous $17,500 per acre. Still when we look at sales in that subdivision over the last year or so, we see that land there has actually been selling for $18,800 per acre. At $17,500 per acre the land in this subdivision is assessed at 37.23% of its fair market value (17500 x 0.4 = 7000 / 18800 = 0.3723).

     In spite of the fact that there is a difference in the fair market value of the land in these two subdivisions of $13,500 an acre, they are uniformly assessed because they are both assessed at about 37% of their fair market value. If we had valued land in the second subdivision at $4,000 an acre, (same as subdivision 1) THEN we would have lack of uniformity, because land in subdivision 2 would be assessed at only 8.51% of its fair market value (4000 x 0.4 = 1600 / 18800 = .00851).

  To appeal an assessment based on lack of uniformity across property categories is a bit broader. This type of appeal grants that the property in your category is assessed uniformly, but that other categories of property are assessed at a different (usually lower) percentage of their fair market value.

     To go back to our earlier example, this type of appeal would grant that residential property is uniformly assessed at about 37% of its fair market value. But let's say that commercial land in Summerville is valued at $500 per foot of US 27 frontage. An examination of sales over the past year or two indicates this type of commercial property has been selling at $1,000 per front foot. Uniformity of Assessment demands that all categories of property be assessed at approxiametely the same percentage of its Fair Market Value. The argument here would be the lack of uniformity in assessing Residential land at 37% of its Fair Market Value, but Commercial land at only 20% (500 x 0.4 = 200 / 1000 = 0.020).

     This last type of appeal (lack of uniformity across categories) is not employed by the individual property very much. The main reason (I assume) is that this type of appeal looks at the values of these classes as a whole, not at individual values. It does not consider just the value of your particular piece of property ... nor does it consider just the value of property in your particular area of the county ... rather it looks at the overall assessment ratios of those categories being compared (residential vs commercial,industrial vs agricultural, etc ) throughout the county. If residential properties as a whole in the county are assessed at about 37%, and commericial properties as a whole in the county are assessed at about 37% then there is uniformity of assessement across those categories no matter what the value of any individual property or sub-grouping of properties.