Return of value deadline nears

Fayette County property owners wishing to file a “return of value” have until April 1 to get it done. The filing is open to property owners who disagree with the value placed on their properties last year.

Tax Assessor Joel Benton said tax assessment notices coming in May will only be sent if the fair market value property has changed since last year. Benton said assessment notices are expected to be mailed May 3, adding that those notices will be sent only if the property is determined to have increased in value or unless new legislation requires it.

The return of value form can be obtained at the Fayette County Tax Commissioner’s office at 140 Stonewall Avenue in Fayetteville or online at etax.dor.ga.gov/PTD/adm/forms/pt50r/index.aspx.

Benton said the Jan. 1 through April 1 period is also the time to apply for a homestead exemption.

Benton said there are a number of variables considered when determining if the value of a home or property has increased or decreased, regardless of whether a return of value declaration has been filed.

He noted examples of property increasing in value that include factors such as new construction, the completion of a home or improvements to the property like a garage, an additional room or a swimming pool.

Last year a total of 3,396 Fayette County parcels had a return of value form filed. Of those, 723 residential properties, or 21.3 percent, were determined by the tax assessor’s office to have decreased in value. But in terms of the 723 homes whose fair market value was reduced, Benton said those reductions ranged from 5 percent to 30 percent. The majority of the reductions were in Fayetteville and the immediate surrounding area and in the north part of the county, he said.

Also in 2009, the nearly 33 percent of property owners receiving an assessment notice with no change in the value in 2009 received the mailing because they filed the “return of value” in April, stating their belief that their property had lost value. Anyone filing a return of value will receive an assessment, regardless of the determination of fair market value.