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
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).
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,
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:
- 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
e. A statement of the basic reason for the appeal
f. Other information as required by the board of tax assessors
- The board of tax assessors will notify the tax commissioner of the appeal.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
For additional questions about filing an appeal on your motor vehicle you should
contact the County Board of Tax Assessors.
Appealing Real Property Assessments
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