• Appraisals and Assessments:
Under the Georgia Revenue Codes, the Board of Tax Assessors
is responsible for appraising and assessing all residential, commercial, and personal property in the county for the purpose of producing an acceptable annual property tax digest. Property is appraised at fair market value then assessed at 40 percent of that value.
The Board of Tax Assessors was established in 1913 by Georgia law (Ga. Code 48-5-290). It consists of three to five members appointed by the County Governing Authority. Banks County has a three-member board including Len Dalton, Chairman; Sam Moon, member; and Martha Threatt, member.
The Assessors are charged with establishing the fair market value of the taxable real and personal properties in Banks County. Fair market value means "the amount a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for the property at an arm's length, bona fide sale." The Board of Assessors does not create property values. Assessors and appraisers merely interpret what is happening in the market place. The appraised value is the estimate of what the property is worth.
Please see the links below for more information, or simply scroll down:
• Property Tax Returns:
Please be advised that the dates to make Property Tax Returns are from January 1 to April 1 each year. You may submit your current estimate of property value during this time to request a review of your property. Please keep in mind that Property Tax Returns are not considered an appeal
. The time in which you can appeal your property value is within 45 days after a Notice of Assessment is issued. Notices of Assessment are sent to all real property owners each year, generally in May. Property values are assessed to the owner of the property as of January 1 of each year.
for the Taxpayer's Return of Real Property.
for the Taxpayer's Return of Personal Property
(Business, Marine, Aircraft, Freeport Exemption)
January 1 to April 1 is also the time to submit applications for specialized assessments including Conservation Use Valuation Assessment applications
and Forest Land Protection Assessment applications
Georgia law provides a procedure for filing property tax returns and property tax appeals at the county level. Taxpayers may file a property tax return (declaration of value) in one of two ways:
- By paying taxes in the prior year on their property the value which was the basis for tax becomes the declaration of value for the current tax year (O.C.G.A. 48-5-20), or
- By filing a PT-50R, PT50P, PT50A or PT50M return of value between January 1 and April 1. In some counties property tax returns are filed with the county tax commissioner and in other counties returns are filed with the county board of tax assessors. In Banks County, both Real Property and Personal Property returns are filed with the Tax Assessor's Office.
• Access Notification to Property Owners and Occupants:
In accordance with OCGA 48-5-264-1, please be advised that the Banks County Appraisal Staff maybe visiting your property. The purpose of these visits may be in response to a return, appeal, site improvement permit, homestead exemption application, conservation use application or a routine review of your property. The appraisal staff will only gather necessary property information and take photographs as needed. If the owner/occupant is not home at the time of the visit, a door hanger or business card will be left indicating the visit.
The appraisal staff will have a photo id and will be driving an appropriately marked vehicle. If there is a question of identity of the staff person or if there are any other questions regarding this visit, please contact the Banks County Tax Assessors office at 706.677.6223.
• Appealing Property Valuations:
Each year the Tax Assessors Office conducts market value analysis on all taxable real properties. Properties are typically researched in groupings by neighborhood, property type, and property use. Market analysis procedures are mandated by Georgia state law and the Georgia Department of Revenue (O.C.G.A. 48-5-340). If sufficient market information is available and the analysis indicates that our appraised values are out of line with the market, we update values across whole groupings or classifications, such as neighborhood or property type and use.
All taxable real property will receive an Annual Notice of Assessment. A change made to the value will be reflected on this notice. The notice informs the property owner of the fair market value as calculated by Board of Tax Assessors and the appraisal staff, as well as provides the property owner the assessed value (40 percent of the fair market value) of their property (O.C.G.A. 48-5-7). The annual property tax bill will be based on the assessed value (40 percent of the fair market value) unless subsequently adjusted following an appeal.
If the owner of a property disagrees with the value on the Annual Notice of Assessment, they have 45 days
from the date on the Notice of Assessment to file an appeal. The owner can appeal on the basis of taxability (i.e., the owner believes the property should be exempt from taxation), value, or values being assessed non-uniformly.
for the appeal form.
As soon as your appeal is received, the following will happen:
- The appraisal staff will review your appeal.
- If the appraisal staff elects to make a change in your valuation, you will receive another written Change of Assessment Notice called a 30-day notice. If you are dissatisfied with the revised appraisal, you have 30 days to appeal the revised appraised value to the Board of Equalization (BOE). By responding that you do not accept the changes, your information will be forwarded to the Clerk of Courts to schedule your hearing. The Clerk of Superior Court will notify you by mail of your scheduled hearing date. You must be present and prepared for the hearing.
- If the appraisal staff does not make any adjustment in your appraisal, you will be notified that your appeal will be forwarded to the next level based on your selected hearing type.
- The Clerk of Courts will notify you by mail when you are scheduled for your hearing.
- When the date and time of the hearing arrives, you will have an opportunity to present your case. The County appraiser will also attend the hearing and will present supporting documentation concerning the County’s appraisal of your property. The County’s appraisal is based on market and cost information occurring between January 1 and December 31 of the prior calendar year. At the end of a hearing, both you and the county appraiser may stay for the deliberations between the Board of Equalization members, but you and the county appraiser must refrain from presenting any further evidence or discussion. The Board of Equalization then deliberates privately and makes a decision. Both you and the Board of Assessors will be notified in writing of the official ruling.
If you are dissatisfied with the Board of Equalization/Hearing Officer ruling, you can appeal to the next level in Superior Court. Arbitration rulings cannot be appealed to Superior Court.
APPEALS PROCESS GRID
Property owners received their 2014 tax bill from the Tax Commissioner’s Office in September 2014. If your property was under appeal at that time, a property tax bill was issued to you by the Tax Commissioner’s Office with a temporary value. This temporary value is determined by taking the lesser of either last year's value OR 85% of our current year original notice value.This bill was due by the due date on the bill.
Once your property appeal is settled, the Tax Commissioner’s Office will determine if a supplemental bill or a credit is required depending on the final appeal value decision. Please contact the Tax Commissioner’s Office for further information about your tax bill 706.677.6204.
• Exemptions & Applications:
Certain persons are eligible for certain homestead exemptions from ad valorem taxation. In addition to the regular homestead exemption authorized for homeowners, certain elderly persons are entitled to additional exemptions. The full law relating to each exemption must be referred to in order to determine eligibility for the exemption. If you are eligible for one of these exemptions and are not receiving the benefit of the exemption, you must apply for the exemption in order to receive the exemption. For more information about the Local Ad Valorem Exemptions in Banks County please contact our office. Exemptions FAQ's Page
Homestead Exemption Applications
may be filed with our office at any time. They must be filed by April 1 to be applicable for the current tax year.
Per HB 916, there is no acreage limit for applying for a Conservation Use Exemption as of May 1, 2012. For applications on 10 acres or less, however, there is a requirement for substantial proof of bona fide agricultural use. Additionally, 2.0 acres along with a residence shall be excluded from all Conservation Use Covenants (new or renewal) applied for after May 1, 2012. Conservation Use Application
Mailing Address Change Form
• Banks County Board of Tax Assessors:
The Banks County Board of Tax Assessors holds regular meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at 10:00 AM in the Wilson Shoals Training Room of the Banks County Courthouse Annex.
The current members of the Board of Tax Assessors are: Len Dalton, Martha Threatt and Sam Moon pictured on the right. If you have any questions regarding these meetings, please contact the Banks County Tax Assessor's Office at 706.677.6223.
If you would like to appear before the Board of Tax Assessors, please complete this form
, print it with any supplemental documents, and submit the packet to the Tax Assessor's Office in person or by mail at 150 Hudson Ridge, Suite 6 Homer, GA 30547. Requests to be placed on the agenda of the Board of Tax Assessors must be received by Thursday at 5:00 PM prior to the scheduled Wednesday meeting. Please keep in mind that depending on the request or issue to be discussed, the request may require being heard at a later scheduled meeting.
• Personal Property Tax Returns:
We accept Personal Property Tax Returns from January 1 to April 1. If you own a business with furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment, and/or inventory, an airplane, or a boat and/or motor, you must file a return. You are responsible for reporting all taxable personal property or penalties will be assessed. We mail Personal Property Tax Return forms as a courtesy, but not receiving one does not relieve your responsibility for filing a return.
Metered mail is not accepted as proof of timely filing of a tax return or appeal. Only the USPS cancellation stamp or certified mail tracking will be considered when determining if either has been filed on time. In the case that the Tax Assessors’ Office considers a tax return or appeal as being filed late, the burden of proof falls on the taxpayer.
The purpose of a review is to determine if a property owner has correctly and fully completed their return and reporting schedules. It is based upon the good faith disclosures of the property owner and information that is readily ascertainable by the appraisal staff. The examination should include a comparison of the current return information with return information from prior years. The appraiser should contact the owner or their agent by an on-site visit, telephone call or written correspondence to attempt to resolve any questionable items. Returns with unresolved discrepancies, unexpected values or incomplete information could be escalated into an audit.
The purpose of an audit is to gather information that will allow the appraiser to make an accurate determination of the fair market value of the property owned by the property owner and subject to taxation. An audit is an examination of the records of the property owner to make an independent determination of the fair market value of such property where such determination does not solely depend upon the good faith disclosures of the property owner and information that is readily ascertainable by the appraisal staff. Accounts subject to audit generally include three (3) tax years.
Personal property valued at $7,500 or less is automatically exempt from ad valorem taxes. The property, however must be returned, valued, and entered on the tax digest. Owners of personal property with a value of less than $7,500 receive no bill.
Policy & Procedures for Personal Property
• Manufactured Housing Digest (Prebills):
Prebilled Manufactured Homes are manufactured homes that either have not been detitled or that do not have or qualify for homestead exemption. These manufactured homes are placed on their own digest, are considered a different type of property than real or personal property, and are billed earlier in the year (generally in January/ February) than those properties listed on the regular digest. The following facts apply to prebilled manufactured homes:
- On or before January 5th of each year, the Board of Assessors meets to approve the current year’s prebill digest.
- On or before January 5th of each year, the prebill manufactured housing digest is forwarded to the Tax Commissioner.
- Appeals can be filed on a manufactured home within 45 days of the date on the prebilled manufactued housing tax bill or by May 1st (Whichever occurs later).
- A temporary tax bill shall be issued for every manufactured home which is under appeal.
- Once the tax assessors office has reached a determination regarding an appeal, it has 10 days to notify the tax commissioner of the final assessment.
- If no appeal has been filed and a manufactured home owner believes that the tax on the manufactured home has been erroneously or illegally assessed or collected, the owner may file a request for a refund. The request may be filed within 3 years of the date of the payment of the taxes in question. Only errors of fact or law which have resulted in erroneous or illegal taxation shall be considered. A mobile home owner’s claim based on mere dissatisfaction with an assessment SHALL NOT constitute that assessment was erroneous or illegal and is not subject to a refund.
• Motor Vehicle Appeals:
The Georgia Department of Revenue produces an estimate of value, which is required for use in determining the amount of “title tax” you owe upon the transfer of a vehicle. Effective January 1, 2014, the new title tax increased to 6.75 percent. On January 1, 2015, according to the statutory formula, the TAVT rate increases from 6.75% to 7%. Any motor vehicle with a date of purchase of January 1, 2015, or later, as stated on the Certificate of Title Application (Form MV-1), will be subject to the 7% rate If you disagree with the value used, you must appeal to the Board of Assessors within 45 days of the payment of the tax.
Please use the state’s PT311A-MV
form to start the process. Submit copies of the registration documents and photos of the vehicle along with the completed appeal form. Photos need to include all four sides, inside, damage (if any), and odometer reading. If this vehicle was recently purchased, please include the purchase price on the appeal form or provide a copy of the bill of sale. The appeal package may be mailed or physically delivered to the Assessors’ Office. You may also schedule a visit to our location for a physical inspection. For more information, please call 706.677.6223 or email
Motor Vehicle Appeal FAQ's Page
• Property Tax Facts:
Property tax is an advalorem tax based upon the value of property, both real and personal. Real property is defined as land and generally anything that is erected, growing, or affixed to the land. Personal property is boats, airplanes, business inventory, and any equipment, furniture, and fixtures needed to run a business. The amount of taxes owed on these properties is determined by their value. Ad valorem is a Latin term that means “according to value”.
In Georgia the property tax system is a multi-level, complex structure that sometimes results in a great deal of misunderstanding by the public, the media and even the policy makers. The property tax process involves two different functions which include estimating property values and setting a millage rate that provides the tax funds to meet budgets.
Property taxes play an important role in contributing to the quality of life and they are levied to make up the difference between all other revenues received and the total revenues needed to fund essential services for Banks County Government and the Banks County Board of Education. These governmental organizations provide roads, fire and police protection, library services, parks and recreation, emergency management, planning and zoning, economic development, schools and education, public health, entertainment, and other vital services from which all of us benefit directly and indirectly.
There are several key participants in the property tax process beginning with county government. They are the Board of Commissioners, the Board of Tax Assessors, and the Tax Commissioner. Each of those groups plays a vital role in the overall property tax process.
The Board of Commissioners are responsible for providing the funds, or budget, that actually pays for the services previously mentioned. They are also required by state law to appoint the Board of Tax Assessors, an independent body responsible for estimating property values. State law also requires the commissioners to provide county funds to finance and administer the property tax process. This includes the operation of the Board of Assessors and all appraisal functions, appeal activities, and tax collection. The Board of Commissioners, however, does not have any role in the appraisal or assessment of property other than making appointments and funding the process. And, while the county commissioners appoint the Board of Tax Assessors, state law provides that the Board of Tax Assessors operates independently.
Another participant in the property tax process is the Tax Commissioner, an elected county constitutional officer, who compiles the county tax digest for state review and approval. The Tax Commissioner sends tax bills and collect taxes for counties, for schools, and many times for the cities that levy property taxes. The Tax Commissioner, however, has no role in property appraisal and no role in setting the county budget or millage rate.