The following provides answers to some frequently asked questions about property valuation and taxation in DeKalb County. If you do not see your question here, please contact our office for assistance.
Ad Valorem is Latin for "according to value," and is thought to be a fair basis for collecting taxes because the tax is proportional to the value of your property. It is a local tax that reflects local budget priorities.
The DeKalb County Property Appraisal Department determines your property value. This responsibility is managed by the Chief Appraiser under the supervision of the Board of Assessors.
The members of the Board of Assessors are appointed by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.
By phone or mail: DeKalb County Property Appraisal Department
1300 Commerce Drive
Decatur, GA, 30030
The Assessors are members of a part-time, citizens board and are not available at all times. Please call our office and leave a message for the Board member to return your call.
None, with the exception that the Board of Commissioners retains budgetary control over this office.
The Chief Appraiser is appointed by the Board of Tax Assessors.
Tax Assessors are governed by state law and provisions of the Georgia Constitution.
If you feel the laws governing taxation can be improved, you may contact your State representative(s)/legislator(s) to discuss your concerns and suggestions.
The main duties of the Tax Commissioner are to calculate property tax bills and collect property taxes.
Your tax amount is calculated using the value of your property and the millage rate.
Here is an example calculation that illustrates the process:
Market value $100,000 x assessment ratio (40%) 0.40 = assessed value
$40,000 — exemptions $10,000 = taxable assessed value
$30,000 x mill rate 0.041 = your tax bill $1,230
The tax digest is the sum of all the assessed values, after exemptions, of properties to be taxed within a particular jurisdiction.
We use three approaches to value:
The sales comparison approach - estimates value based on recent sales of comparable properties.
The cost approach - estimates value based on the cost to replace or reproduce the structures, less accumulated depreciation, plus land value.
The income approach - estimates value based on income produced by the property (rental properties).
"Market value" is a theoretical notion of what a knowledgeable buyer would pay a willing seller in a normal market. "Sale price" is a historical fact from a particular transaction which may or may not reflect the conditions of a normal market.
The assessment percentage is 40% of fair market value and is set according to the laws of Georgia.
Yes. The millage rate can change. Your bill is the product of two items - the assessed value and the mill rate; a change in either can impact your tax bill.
A change in your assessed value or the loss of an exemption could produce a tax increase for you. The millage rate alone does not constitute "taxes."
The millage rate is calculated by dividing the total county budget by the total value of the tax digest.
Millage rates are set by the school board, the county governing authority and any other taxing authorities in whose jurisdiction your property is located.
Yes. This is known as a homestead exemption. Applications for homestead exemptions in DeKalb County can be filed at any time but must be received before April 1st to be applied to the current tax year. Failure to file constitutes your waiver of the exemption for that year. Please contact the Tax Commissioner's office at (404) 298-4000 to apply for homestead exemptions.
Yes — the Freeport Exemption.
This is a local exemption on business inventory that must be approved by the electorate of any county or municipality. DeKalb County gives a 100% exemption on qualifying inventories.
No. You must file for this exemption between January 1 st and April 1 st, as provided for by law.
No extensions are granted but Freeport Applications may be filed as follows:
a. In order to receive 100% of eligible Freeport Exemption Inventory the application must be received in our office prior to the April 1st filing deadline.
b. Taxpayers may continue to file the application after that date but will receive a reduced percentage based on the filing dates. Applications filed between April 2nd and April 30th, 66.67%; May 1st and May 31st, 58.33%; and June 1st 50%.
c. Failure to file by June 1st shall constitute a waiver of the entire exemption for the year (0%).
None. The law does not provide grace periods.
Yes. An appeal can be filed in response to an Annual Assessment Notice. When you receive your Notice you will have 45 days from the Notice Date displayed on the form to file your appeal. The simplest way to file is to use our online appeal which is operational during the 45 day appeal period. You may also appeal in person at our office or by mail using an appeal form or by simply writing a letter stating you wish to appeal. Please include your Parcel ID Number, the street address of your property, a daytime phone number and any additional information you would like for us to consider. Appeals must be hand delivered to our office or POSTMARKED BY THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE by the appeal deadline date shown on your Annual Assessment Notice. We do not accept appeals via fax or email.
Additional information is available on our APPEAL PROCESS page
Appeals can only be filed in response to an Annual Assessment Notice generated by the Property Appraisal Department. Once you receive your Notice you will have 45 days from the Notice Date to file an appeal. If you do not file an appeal by this date your right to appeal will be lost. Complete instructions for filing the appeal will be included with the Notice.
We invite you to provide sales transaction information, photographs of similar properties that have sold recently or any other information you want us to consider.
On the menu to the left, click on Data/Property Search then Real Estate Data Search. Enter your parcel ID number or your street address then click Search. This will bring you to an overview page which gives you basic information about your property. The appeal status appears in the "Appeal Status" section. Please note that it can take many months for us to process all appeals. We appreciate your patience as we give each appeal the attention it deserves.
Yes. Georgia law requires Annual Assessment Notices to be mailed to owners of all taxable real property.
On the menu to the left, click on Data/Property Search then Real Estate Data Search. Enter your parcel ID number or your street address then click Search. This will bring you to an overview page which gives you basic information about your property. In the section called "Appeal Status" you will see the "Date Notice Mailed."
No. The real estate property tax return has nothing to do with your federal income tax return. The return is an opportunity for you to declare what you believe to be the value of your property. You may also use the Return Form to provide a change of address. Please note that filing a property tax return is not the same as filing an appeal - it is simply a declaration of your value. CLICK HERE for more information on the appeal process.
The property tax return season throughout Georgia is January 1 through April 1 each year. Real estate property tax returns are no longer necessary for insuring your right to appeal, but you are welcome to file a return if you choose. Business personal property tax returns are still required every year, as these returns contain valuable information for setting values each year. Please check this website in January for the return forms.
If you applied for the Homestead Base Freeze Exemption, you are exempted any amount of your fair market value which EXCEEDS the Homestead Base Value (HSBase). The HSBase value is determined when you apply for the exemption, by taking the previous year's final assessment and freezing it, or in the case of new parcels or new construction, freezing the current year's assessment. The HSBase value will be used to calculate the county portion of your property tax bill, but the school portion is still based on your current fair market value.
Although your HSBase value is frozen, we are still required by law to appraise your property at its fair market value each year.
No. In the case where the fair market value is LOWER than the HSBase value, the HSBase value will not be changed, but will simply not be used for that year. The tax bill will be based on the new, lower value for that tax year. Should the fair market value increase over the HSBase value, the exemption would then apply (as described above). EXAMPLE:
Tax Year 1: HSBase Value $100,000
Fair Market Value $125,000
HSBase exemption is $25,000 for county portion of taxes
Tax Year 2: HSBase Value $100,000
Fair Market Value $90,000.
HSBase exemption is $0
Tax Year 3: HSBase Value $100,000
Fair Market Value $120,000
HSBase exemption is $20,000 for county portion of taxes
To apply for the “Homestead Base Freeze Exemption,” or any homestead exemption, please contact the Tax Commissioner's Office at (404) 298-4000, or CLICK HERE
No. Our objective is to appraise your property at its fair market value. Budgets are the focus of other departments. The State of Georgia evaluates our department and its tax digest for accuracy and conducts statistical sample tests to ensure that our values are reflecting the fair market value. Failure to meet State standards for accuracy can result in penalties for our office.
The Board of Equalization is a body selected and appointed by the Grand Jury and is composed of fellow property owners who are eligible to serve on a grand jury. There are no costs to you for using their services in an appeal.
Nonbinding Arbitration is an option you may use as an alternative to having an appeal heard by the Board of Equalization. There is a filing fee cost of $214 which is made payable to the Clerk of Superior Court. The cost of Arbitration is borne by the losing party.
A Superior Court appeal requires a $25.00 filing fee.
The resulting decision controls for the year of appeal plus two additional years unless there is a change pursuant to allowed exceptions.