The Cherokee County Board of Tax Assessors approved the 2023 Notice of Assessment list May 11, reflecting an overall digest increase of 22 percent, including new construction. Property owners should be receiving their annual property assessment notices this week. The Tax Commissioner’s Office will mail property tax bills later in the year.
Assessors establish their appraisals as of Jan. 1 of each year, as dictated by state law. A crucial part of the assessment process is to review the 2022 market sales and adjust the appraisals as closely as possible to reflect those sales. For 2023, the digest grew 16.2 percent due to inflation and 5.6 percent due to growth.
“As you receive your assessment notices, please look at the Assessor’s Office value and consider if you could sell your house for that amount,” said Chief Appraiser Steve Swindell. “Due to the methodology utilized by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts (DOAA), which determines whether or not the tax assessors are performing their duties properly, and the rapidly changing market we are experiencing, we have completed our appraisals to the absolute highest degree of the standard required by the State of Georgia for 2023.”
Swindell added that if the assessments are below or above what the state considers appropriate following the annual DOAA audit, the county could face penalties of $50 per parcel. Last year, the DOAA indicated the county’s assessment values were too low, however, the Assessor’s Office proved to an independent arbitration panel that the assessments were in the lowest of the required range, within 5 percent of fair market value.
Residential properties with an existing homestead exemption will continue to receive the standard $5,000 exemption and the valuation freeze exemption. The valuation freeze exemption holds a property value to the value set the year the homestead application was filed (for instance, if a homestead application was filed in 2008, then the taxable value remains at the 2008 level). The valuation freeze is applied to county maintenance and operations only.
Those with a senior exemption will see an increase in their exemption amount for school maintenance and operation and school bond taxes, up to $485,500 of fair market value. The senior exemption is adjusted according to the Social Security Index.
Additionally, Gov. Brian Kemp, as part of the state’s $6 billion surplus, has authorized a one-time Property Tax Relief Grant for property owners. Homesteaded properties will see a reduction of their assessed value by $18,000 through the $950 million appropriated to the Department of Revenue. This reduction will be applied to all county, city and school taxes later in the year, except those rates for bond payments (Cherokee County has the parks bond, and the School District has its bond rate). This credit will not appear on the notice of assessment, but it will be included in the tax bill issued by the Tax Commissioner later in the year.
An estimated tax bill notice on the assessment notice is required by state law and is calculated based on the millage rate set last year. Historically, the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners has reduced its controlled millage rate to, at least, partially offset the financial impact to property owners. Property owners are encouraged to visit www.cherokeega.com/tax-assessors-office, click on Real Estate Search and ensure the details on their property are correct (number of bedrooms, basement, etc.). This tool also can be used to review sales in the neighborhood.
Those who wish to appeal their assessment value must file an appeal by June 29, which can be done online at www.cherokeega.com/tax-assessors-office by clicking File Appeal. For questions, please call the Tax Assessor’s Office at 678-493-6120.