Board of Equalization
Chairman Jim Ryan
Vice Chairman Jesse McMillen
Roxanne Waller, Member
Sandy Dillard, Alternate Member
Debbie Odum, Alternate Member
Charlie Walker, Alternate Member
Helen Kitchens, Board Secretary
Trevor Addison, Appeal Administrator
About the Board
A division of the Clerk of Superior Court, every Board of Equalization in all 159 counties in Georgia are made up of three members who are property owners. They are supported by three alternates. These members have been appointed by the Grand Jury (OCGA 48-5-311) and are expected to be high school graduates who can qualify as Grand Jurors. They must agree to serve a three-year term.
The function of the Board of Equalization Georgia is designed to receive and adjudicate every appeal of assessments related to property value, uniformity, tax-ability, or exemption denials.
Every member of the Board of Equalization Georgia is expected to satisfy 40 hours of certified training. This is completed before serving as members. Board of Equalization Georgia members are required to complete eight hours of continuing education classes every year.
The Board of Equalization Georgia is charged with the task of hearing appeals on property tax matters. These matters include:
Established Value – This includes what the property would sell for on the market in transactions between informed buyers and sellers.
Value Uniformity – This involves assessment values fairly equalized between individual taxpayers.
Tax-ability – All real and personal property is subject to taxation and will be taxed unless otherwise provided for by law.
Homestead Exemption Denials – The homestead that is owned by a resident of the state of Georgia and is occupied by the owner as their primary residence receives an exemption. A portion of the assessment is exempted from ad valorem taxation for county, state and school purposes.
Special Assessment Denials – In Georgia the law provides for special assessments. This includes certain kinds of property such as; land used for agricultural or conservation use, land rehabilitated and landmark/ historic properties. It also includes contaminated property known more commonly as "Brownfields", as well as environmentally sensitive properties including but not limited to storm-water and wetlands.
Property owners file appeals to the Board of Tax Assessors within the required 45 days of the postmark on their assessment notice. "Appellant" is the title of the person appealing. This appeal is first considered by the Board of Tax Assessors. If the Board’s decision includes a “no change,” the appeal is then forwarded to the Board of Equalization Georgia. If the Board of Tax Assessors does change the value the appellant has 30 days to appeal to the Board of Equalization Georgia.
Appellants receive a notice for the date and time of the scheduled hearing. To reschedule any hearing the appellant will need to notify the Board of Equalization Georgia a minimum of 24 hours in advance. To withdraw from a hearing, they are required to write to the office at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing date.
Appellants appear before the Board of Equalization Georgia either alone or with a representative or represented by an authorized representative. The taxpayer is required to specify in writing to the Board of Equalization, the name of any agent or representative prior to the scheduled appearance before the Board.
Evidence to present to the Board of Equalization Georgia could include pictures of the interior, pictures of the exterior and the surrounding area. A map of the area that shows the location of the subject property and the locations of other similar properties in the area that sold within one or two years of the effective date of appraisal, which is January 1 of each year. Also, similar properties with much lower assessed values can be used as evidence of an inequitable assessment/tax burden.
The Appellant, or the County Board of Tax Assessors, may appeal decisions of the Board of Equalization to the Superior Court. The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date on which the original board decision was mailed.
Appealing the Board of Equalization
Qualifications to serve on the Board of Equalization
(b) Qualifications of board of equalization members.
(1) Each person who is, in the judgment of the appointing grand jury, qualified and competent to serve as a grand juror, who is the owner of real property located in the county where such person is appointed to serve, or, in the case of a regional board of equalization, is the owner of real property located in any county in the region where such person is appointed to serve, and who is at least a high school graduate shall be qualified, competent, and compellable to serve as a member or alternate member of the county board of equalization. No member of the governing authority of a county, municipality, or consolidated government; member of a county or independent board of education; member of the county board of tax assessors; employee of the county board of tax assessors; or county tax appraiser shall be competent to serve as a member or alternate member of the county board of equalization.
(2) (A) Each person seeking to be appointed as a member or alternate member of a county board of equalization shall, not later than immediately prior to the time of his or her appointment under subsection (c) of this Code section, file with the clerk of the superior court a uniform application form which shall be a public record. The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia created under Code Section 15-6-50.2 shall design the form which indicates the applicant's education, employment background, experience, and qualifications for such appointment.
(B) (i) Within the first year after a member's initial appointment to the board of equalization, each member shall satisfactorily complete not less than 40 hours of instruction in appraisal and equalization processes and procedures, as prepared and required by the commissioner pursuant to Code Section 48-5-13.
(ii) On or after January 1, 2016, following the completion of each term of office, a member shall, within the first year of appointment to the subsequent term of office, complete satisfactorily not less than 20 hours of instruction in appraisal and equalization processes and procedures, as prepared and required by the commissioner for newly appointed members.
Upcoming Appointment to Putnam County Board of Equalization
In accordance with Georgia laws (O.C.G.A. § 45-5-311), the Putnam County Grand Jury will appoint two members to the Putnam County Board of Equalization during the March Term of the Superior Court of Putnam County, to fill two vacancies. The grand jury will convene on March 20, 2023.