By Brad Wallace
Cobb County, Georgia issued 2020 assessment notices on Thursday, May 21. Certain properties received large valuation increases despite current conditions. Properties that received significant increases include Class A multifamily, high-rise office buildings, newly constructed commercial developments, and properties that were previously appealed and have satisfied the provisions of O.C.G.A. 48-5-299C, the Georgia statute dictating a two-year freeze following a successful Board of Equalization appeal.
Date of Value
As with many Georgia counties that have already released their 2020 assessment notices, Cobb County is expected to take the stance that any impacts as a result of COVID-19 are to be addressed in 2021 because of the January 1, 2020 lien date. Ryan plans on presenting the real-world issues as they exist. Rent abatements, declines in revenue, vacancies, co-tenancy issues, debt covenant violations, and any revised outlook as a result of COVID-19 cannot be ignored in 2020. These arguments will be difficult, as taxing jurisdictions are already hurting from other lost sources of tax revenue. Appraisals generally lag market variations by 12 to 18 months as data points become available over time. That being said, an aggressive approach to value reductions this year is paramount to ensuring you pay no more than the law allows.
2020 Appeal Cycle/Millage Rate
The appeal deadline for the 2020 assessments is Monday, July 6. Cobb County officials recently told local newspapers their plan is to “leave the millage rate alone” for the 2020 tax year and address any budget shortfalls with the 2021 millage rate. It is unclear whether that implies the millage rate will stay flat over 2019 levels or if Cobb County will adjust the millage rate downwards on account of the expected increase in the overall tax digest. We will continue to provide updates on the millage rate as the situation progresses.
Ryan’s Property Tax team is encouraging owners to closely review their 2020 valuations. If you are interested in understanding more about the 2020 tax year and the potential impact to your property, please contact us for additional details.
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