Review of County Digests
Digest Evaluation Cycles
Approval of Digests
Review of County Digests
The purpose of the digest review procedure is to equalize county property tax digests
between and within the counties. This procedure is designed to require the
county boards of tax assessors to make adjustments in the valuation of property
to ensure uniformity and equity. The Revenue Commissioner can use any reasonable
measure in order to accomplish uniformity O.C.G.A. 48-5-340
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1. assessment bias - any tendency or trend of assessment
ratios, when analyzed by an appropriate statistical method, which reveals assessment
progressivity or assessment regressivity.
2. assessment progressivity - any systematic pattern of assessment in
which higher value properties are generally assessed at a larger percentage of fair market
value than properties of lower value.
3. assessment ratio - the fractional relationship the assessed value of
property bears to the fair market value of the property.
4. assessment regressivity - any systematic pattern of assessment in which
lower value properties are generally assessed at a larger percentage of fair market value
than properties of higher value.
5. assessment variance - the absolute value of the difference between the assessment
ratio for each parcel of property within each class of property and the average assessment ratio for
that class and expressed as a percentage of the average assessment ratio.
6. class of property - any reasonable divisions of homogeneous groups of property that
the Revenue Commissioner determines are necessary to examine digests for uniformity and equalization.
7. digest evaluation cycle - a recurring period of three years beginning initially
on January 1 of the first year, as so designated by the Revenue Commissioner for each county, and ending
on December 31 of the third year thereafter.
8. digest review year - the first year of each evaluation cycle for each county O.C.G.A. 48-5-341
Digest Evaluation Cycles
Each year the Revenue Commissioner is required to examine the tax digests of every
county and to determine the overall average assessment ratio for the county.
One-third of the counties' digests are examined in their digest review year by the
Revenue Commissioner and either approved or conditionally approved by August 1 of
the next tax year. The digest of the counties are examined to determine if
the valuations are uniform and equalized in comparison to the valuations of other
counties. The Commissioner will also determine if valuations are uniform and
equalized within the county.
The county digests that were conditionally approved in the previous digest review
year are carefully examined to determine if the deficiencies from the previous digest
review year were corrected.
Evaluation Cycle for Each County
The digest evaluation cycle for each county is designated by regulation. For
tax years beginning January 1, 1992, and later, the starting date of the digest
evaluation cycle for each county will be as follows:
January 1, 1992, and every third January 1 thereafter for the following counties:
January 1, 1993, and every third January 1 thereafter for the following counties:
January 1, 1994, and every third January 1 thereafter for the following counties:
O.C.G.A. 48-5-342, O.C.G.A. 48-5-342.1
Approval of Digests
A countys digest is approved in their digest review year if the digest meets
the following criteria:
1. The average assessment ratio for each class of property shall be reasonably close
to the assessments provided for in O.C.G.A. 48-5-7 which is a 40% assessment for most real and personal property.
2. The average assessment variance for each class of property shall not be excessive.
3. The assessment ratios of the properties shall not reveal any significant assessment bias.
Rules and Regulations 560-11-2-.56 for the specific statistical tests that
the county digest must meet.
The Revenue Commissioner can approve the countys digest if 10 percent or less
of the assessments do not meet uniformity requirements O.C.G.A.48-5-343
Conditional Approval of Digest
If the countys digest does not meet uniformity requirements the Revenue Commissioner
will conditionally approve the digest and notify the county board of tax assessors
in writing of the decision. The written notification will contain:
- 1. A list of specific reasons for the digest being conditionally approved,
- 2. A list of the statistical methods used in the determination, and
- 3. Any other information that would be helpful to the county board of tax assessors to correct the deficiencies O.C.G.A. 48-5-344
If the Revenue Commissioner determines that the countys digest meets all conditions
required by law, the Commissioner will issue a receipt for the digest and enter
an order authorizing the use of the digest for the collection of taxes.
But if it is determined that the overall average assessment ratio deviates substantially
from the assessment required by O.C.G.A. 48-5-7, the Revenue Commissioner shall assess against the county governing authority
additional state tax in an amount equal to the difference between the amount the states levy, as prescribed in Code
Section 48-5-8, would have produced if the digest had been at the proper assessment ratio and the amount the digest that is
actually used for collection purposes will produce O.C.G.A. 48-5-345
Conditional Approval in the Next Digest Review Year
If a countys digest contained deficiencies and was conditionally approved
one year and those same deficiencies still are uncorrected in the next digest review
year, the Revenue Commissioner will assess the county governing authority a penalty
of $5.00 per taxable parcel of real property and the withholding of state grants
to the county. O.C.G.A. 48-5-346
The local governing authority can appeal the conditional approval of their digest
to the Revenue Commissioner through a hearing officer. Hearing officers are
appointed by the State Board of Equalization from the congressional districts located
in the county O.C.G.A. 48-5-348
The local governing authority can file an appeal within 30 days of receipt by the
board of tax assessors of the Revenue Commissioners conditional approval or
assessment of additional state tax of the digest. The Revenue Commissioner
is authorized to enter into an agreement with the county to specify a plan to correct
the deficiencies on or before the next digest review year, and to partially or wholly
defer the penalties imposed and the withholding of state grants.
The hearing officer will set a date to hear the appeal within 10 days of receipt.
Additional hearings may be necessary. A copy of the decision of the hearing
officer will be issued in writing to each party within ten days after the issuance
of the decision. O.C.G.A. 48-5-349.2
If the Revenue Commissioner or the county governing authority is dissatisfied with
the decision of the hearing officer, either party can appeal to the superior court
of the county. O.C.G.A. 48-5-349.3
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