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Tax Assessors


O.C.G.A. 48-5-299. Ascertainment of taxable property; assessments against unreturned property; penalty for unreturned property; changing real property values established by appeal in prior year. (a) It shall be the duty of the county board of tax assessors to investigate diligently and to inquire into the property owned in the county for the purpose of ascertaining what real and personal property is subject to taxation in the county and to require the proper return of the property for taxation. The board shall make such investigation as may be necessary to determine the value of any property upon which for any reason all taxes due the state or the county have not been paid in full as required by law. In all cases where the full amount of taxes due the state or county has not been paid, the board shall assess against the owner, if known, and against the property, if the owner is not known, the full amount of taxes which has accrued and which may not have been paid at any time within the statute of limitations. In all cases where taxes are assessed against the owner of the property, the board may proceed to assess the taxes against the owner of the property according to the best information obtainable; and such assessment, if otherwise lawful, shall constitute a valid lien against the property assessed.

Notice to the Habersham County Property Owners and Occupants


The office of the Board of Tax Assessors maintains records of all properties within the county, the property owners and the fair market value of the property.

This Board directs a staff of appraisers and appraisal clerks to obtain and manage these records. The appraisal staff obtains information from building permits and other sources, then visits the properties where improvements have been made or for verification of incorrect information. The appraisal staff is also instructed to review all characteristics of each property within the county to insure the accuracy of the property record.

In addition to establishing values for real and personal property, the Board is ordered by the Georgia state law to submit a tax digest (a compilation of all property values, motor vehicle values, timber values, and exemption amounts) to the State Revenue Commissioner at the Department of Revenue.

The Habersham County Board of Tax Assessors is also designated to receive property tax returns for real and personal property and applications for various homestead exemptions, conservation use valuation, preferential agricultural assessment, conservation use assessment of residential transitional property, freeport exemption, and applications for exempt property. It is the duty of the Board to determine the eligibility of these applications.

The following information from the county appointment policy further details the role of this board.

PURPOSE

The Board of Tax Assessors was developed to serve in the following capacities:

  • Ensures that all taxable property within the county is filed and assessed for taxation at its fair market value
  • Ensures that taxpayers shall pay only their proportionate share of taxes as per OCGA 48-5-306.
  • Maintains all maps for the county including, but not limited to, mapping, platting, cataloging, and indexing of all real and personal property in the County, OCGA 48-5-263.
  • Provides for the training of new appraisers and the continuing education of existing appraisers as per OCGA 48-5-263, 267, and 268.

BACKGROUND

The Board of Assessors began in 1968 as a three member board until the County Commissioners designated the board to become a five member board beginning January 1, 1990. Two additional members were appointed for tax year 1990.

BOARD OF TAX ASSESSORS DUTIES (illustrative only – not all inclusive)

  • Investigate and inquire into the property owned in the county for the purpose of ascertaining what real and personal property are subject to taxation in the county and to require the proper return of the property for taxation
  • Investigations, as necessary, to determine the value of any property upon which for any reason all taxes due the state or the county have not been paid in full as required by law
  • Interpret and apply regulations of Habersham County along with guidelines of the Department of Revenue and Georgia law
  • Assessments and penalties against unreturned property
  • Assist Appraisers in the field
  • Determine eligibility of exempt properties
  • Approve or deny applications for Conservation Use Valuation to be applied to properties
  • Approve or deny applications filed by taxpayers for various homestead exemptions; determine eligibility
  • Reviews market data, construction data, and other pertinent information necessary to determine a uniform and equitable digest; approve property assessments and yearly tax digest
  • Reviews and considers tax returns filed by taxpayers
  • Meet with taxpayers to discuss their concerns and issues in regards to all aspects of property taxation
  • Establishment, maintenance, and execution of policies and procedures for property appraisal and taxation

The Chief Appraiser may appoint an assistant (currently Stephanie Walker) and may delegate his/her authority in writing to the assistant. The Chief Appraiser may be a member of the county Board of Tax Assessors.

MEETINGS

The Board of Tax ASssessors meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month. Meetings begin at 9:00 a.m. and last until all business is finished (meetings are usually completed by noon., however, according to the time of year, some meetings may break for lunch and resume afterwards for an unknown amount of time)

CURRENT MEMBERS

  • Jimmy Tench (Appointed by Commissioner Andrea Harper)
  • Bud Jessup (Appointed by Commissioner Sonny James)
  • Phil Neeley (Appointed by Commissioner Chad Henderson)
  • Deborah Densmore (Appointed by Chairman Natalie Crawford)
  • Ernest B. Snyder (Buck)(Appointed by Commissioner Ed Nichols)

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Members must reside in Habersham County within 6 months after taking the oath of office as a member of the board
  • Must be 21 years of age or older
  • Must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Must be able to attend required courses given by Georgia Department of Revenue, to obtain Assessors Certification
  • Experience in the appraisal field, property taxation, or some career/profession with extensive knowledge (or capability) of vast topics/aspects that may cross the duties of the Board of Assessors

TRAINING

  • Education requirements are designated by the Department of Revenue and OCGA. Failure to maintain the requirements of the Department of Revenue may affect the approval of the yearly tax digest.
  • Must successfully complete the Assessors’ Certification (40 hour course with exam) within one year of appointment to the board
  • Successful completion of an additional 40 hours of approved appraisal courses within two years of appointment to board
  • Must continue 40 hours of continuing education during each two years of his tenure as a member
  • Some seminars and/or other important events that may be necessary to attend
RESTRICTIONS

A member of the BOA cannot be related to a member of the county governing authority in one or more of the following degrees:

  • Mother or mother-in-law
  • Father or father-in-law
  • Sister or sister-in-law
  • Brother or brother-in-law
  • Grandmother or grandmother by marriage
  • Grandfather or grandfather by marriage
  • Son or son-in-law
  • Daughter or daughter-in-law

No member of a county board of tax assessors shall be eligible to hold any state, county, or municipal office during the time he holds such office,

COMPENSATION $70.00 per day for services.

TERM: 3 years, staggered.

TIME REQUIRED

Members, if desired, assist a property appraiser on one to two work days each week. This assistance is usually driving the county vehicle to various properties within the county, walking property as necessary, helping to measure structures on properties, and noting detailed information needed to maintain photograph records. General work days for assisting property appraisers normally extend from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Meeting time is usually 6 or more hours per month.

For more information about the appeals process CLICK HERE.

Contact Information

Mailing Address: 555 Monroe Street, Unit 26 Box 5, Clarkesville, GA 30523
Location: 115 Beaver Dam Rd, Clarkesville, GA 30523
Handicapped Parking/Deliveries: 6257 State Hwy. 115, Clarkesville, GA 30523

Phone: 706-839-0100 Fax: 706-754-8079
Email: taxassessors@habershamga.com

Joan Church, E-mail: jchurch@habershamga.com

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