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Vicki Lambert
Director
4125 Welcome All Road
Suite 701
Atlanta GA 30349
Phone: 404-724-7000
Fax: 404-724-7011
Email: local.government.services@dor.ga.gov
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Motor Vehicle Division
Appealing a Motor Vehicle Assessment

The valuation of motor vehicles as of January 1 of each year is determined in Georgia for each make and model of a vehicle using information provided by manufacturers, dealers and publishers of various market guides.  Each year the Department distributes a valuation manual to county tax commissioners for their use in valuing vehicles for ad valorem tax purposes.

Depending upon the condition of the vehicle or other factors, some vehicles may be worth less than the uniform market values found in the state manual.  When this difference is significant to the taxpayer, they may file an appeal contesting the value.

There are two ways the taxpayer can dispute the assessment of ad valorem tax against their motor vehicle. The taxpayer can either:

  • file an affidavit of illegality to the assessment with the tax commissioner, or

  • file an appeal of the assessed value to the board of tax assessors as provided in O.C.G.A. 48-5-311 as that section applies to motor vehicle assessment (most taxpayers use this appeal procedure).
  • (O.C.G.A. 48-5-450)

    Affidavit of Illegality to a Motor Vehicle Assessment

    The owner that disagrees with the assessment of their motor vehicle can purchase the license plate without payment of the ad valorem tax by filing an affidavit of illegality to the assessment with the tax commissioner or tax collector.  The affidavit must be accompanied by any one of the following in an amount equal to the tax and any penalties and interest which may be found to be due:

  • a surety bond issued by a surety company authorized to do business in this state, or

  • a bond approved by the clerk of the superior court in the county, or

  • a cash bond.
  • The bond should be made payable to the tax commissioner.

    The affidavit of illegality and the bond are then transferred to and filed with the superior court.  The matter is then tried in court in the same manner other tax cases are tried.

    Appeals of a Motor Vehicle Assessment

    Most owners that disagree with the assessment of their motor vehicle file an appeal in the same manner as other ad valorem tax assessments are appealed as provided in O.C.G.A. Section 48-5-311 as that section applies to motor vehicle assessment. The procedure is as follows:

    1. An appeal should be filed in writing with the board of tax assessors on or before the deadline for the payment of the tax.  Appeals should be accompanied by:
        a. The vehicle identification number (VIN)
        b. A list of optional equipment installed in the vehicle
        c. A description of the general condition of the vehicle
        d. A statement of the vehicle mileage on January 1st of the
            taxable year
        e. A statement of the basic reason for the appeal
        f.  Other information as required by the board of tax assessors

    2. The board of tax assessors will notify the tax commissioner of the appeal.

    3. The tax commissioner will issue a "temporary tax bill" based upon 85% of the current year's bill or the previous year's bill whichever is higher.  The temporary tax bill will indicate that there may be additional tax or a refund due based on the resolution of the appeal.  The tax commissioner will issue the vehicle registration when the taxpayer pays the amount of the temporary tax bill.

    4. The board of tax assessors will handle the appeal in the same manner as other ad valorem tax assessments are appealed.  They may request the taxpayer to come to the office for a meeting and to bring the vehicle for an inspection by their appraisal staff.  They must give the taxpayer their decision on the value in writing.

    5. If the taxpayer is not satisfied with the decision of the board of tax assessors, he or she has 21 days to appeal in writing the board's decision to the board of equalization which will set a date to hear the appeal.  This is a more formal appeal and the taxpayer may choose to come to the appeal alone or be represented by counsel. The taxpayer may present expert witnesses.

    6. If the taxpayer is still not satisfied with the board of equalization's decision, he or she may appeal the decision to the superior court. Most appeals are resolved before they ever get to this stage.

    The end result of this process is for a vehicle owner to have their vehicle valued at its fair market value for ad valorem tax purposes.

     

    Contact

    For additional questions about filing an appeal on your motor vehicle you should contact the County Board of Tax Assessors.

     

    Related Links

    Appealing Real Property Assessments

     

    Back to Motor Vehicle Index