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Tax bills coming this week
Percentage of appeals decreased in 11
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Gainesville property owners should be getting the first of their split bills in their mailboxes this week.

City tax officials mailed out 6,090 bills Friday. The total tax amount was $9,644,243.49 according to a news release.

"The first bill is based on last year's information," Gainesville Tax Coordinator Dee Dee Stephens said. "The second bill is based on the new millage rate."

Stephens said unless property owners had different information from 2010 taxes, such as a name change, they will receive both of the bills.

Payment for the first bill is due Sept. 1, and for the first time, property owners can pay their taxes online, a development Stephens said she's "very excited" about. Appeals are directed through Hall County.

The deadline for county property owners' appeals passed on June 27.

Steve Watson, chief appraiser for the Hall County Board of Assessment Administration, said the county received 6,627 appeals for 2011 taxes, including 1,317 from the city.

He said appeals can be based on property value, property uniformity — whether all property was taxed the same way or not — and taxability, or whether a property is taxable or not.

"The actual fair market value of all the property that has been appealed is $2,012,185,028. The fair market value is just the value of the property, like what it would sell for," Watson said. "That equates to $804 million of taxable value."

Watson said the county received more appeals on 2011 taxes than on years past because this year more assessment notices were sent out. In the past, the county only had to send out assessment notices to properties with a value change, but this year everyone received one.

The percentage of appeals, however, decreased from 21 percent in 2010 to just under 9 percent this year, he said.

"We will start going into the field to start reviewing all of these properties on Wednesday," Watson said. "We're not going to call people and tell them we're coming unless someone requested they be there."

Watson said in some cases where tax appraisers will need to enter the house, the taxpayer will be called. At the time of the inspection, property owners will be informed of a reduction in value or that their appeal will be sent to the Board of Equalization.

He said different rules and timelines apply for property owners who selected arbitration or a hearing officer.

"It's my goal to have the majority of reviews done in 60 to 90 days," he said. "It'll probably be closer to the 90-day mark, but we want to get it done in a reasonable amount of time."

 

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