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Time running out for chance to lower property tax assessment

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ATLANTA -

Property owners take heed! You have only until April 1 to file your Georgia Property Tax Return, or you lose your initial opportunity to lower your property tax assessment. Financial expert John Adams stopped by Good Day Atlanta with information on what you need to do to pay your fair share!

Information:

Download a free Taxpayer Survival Guide at http://www.money99.com

Here are the steps you must take by MONDAY APRIL 1 to lower your valuation for 2013:

1.  First, you will need a blank copy of the PT50-R Property Tax Return Form.  You can download the state form from my website at Money99.com. That form is provided by the Georgia Department of Revenue and is acceptable in all counties in Georgia.

2.  Next, you will need to estimate what your home might have sold for on the first day of this year.

That means you need to gather the sale values of similar homes which sold during 2012, but not any which sold after the first day of January.  My advice is to hire a real estate professional to assist you in this research, because they do this type of activity all the time.

They call it a Competitive Market Analysis (or a CMA) because it compares your home with others which have sold in a specific date range and in a specific locale. This process is not the same as an appraisal, but uses much of the same information during the analysis. Specifically, you want comparable sales data for calendar year 2012.

3. Next, you need to take color photos of all the homes listed on the CMA, and describe their features and locations in relation to your home, comparing the properties.  The closer in age, square footage, bedroom and bath count, condition, and location that the comparable home is, the more weight it should be given in estimating your home's value on New Years Day.

A.  Calculate the average "dollars per square foot" based on the selling price of homes which are most similar to yours. Then multiply that number times the square footage of your home to arrive at value.

B.  Don't forget to search vigorously for 2012 sales of bank-owned homes in your neighborhood. These sales are often quite low, and can help lower your value for tax purposes.

4.  Finally, fill out the PT-50R with the dollar amount you believe is fair for January 1, 2013. Choose a value that you can support.

Here's the key to the process: your deadline for filing this form is April 1, 2013, which is a Monday.  Deliver it in person or use certified mail. This is not the only chance you will have to protest your tax assessment this year, but this is the first opportunity you have to put your valuation into the stack for review.

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