Property Tax FAQ



  1. What is the meaning of ad valorem property tax?
  2. Who determines the value of my property for tax purposes?
  3. What steps do the Tax Assessors use when they appraise my property?
  4. What is an assessment notice and why did I receive one?
  5. What is the difference between sales price and market value?
  6. What would cause my property to increase without making any improvements?
  7. What are some other reasons for a property appraisal increase?
  8. I agree with my property valuation, why did values increase so much in one year?
  9. Who sets the millage rates?
  10. What is the assessment percentage in Georgia and who sets it?
  11. How is the amout of my property tax determined?
  12. If my property value and assessment remain the same, can my tax bill change?
  13. How can I have a tax increase with no mill rate change?
  14. When will I receive a property tax bill?
  15. How can I qualify for Homestead Exemption?
  16. Are there any other exemptions available?
  17. If I did not own my home for the full year, can my taxes be prorated?
  18. Can the interest and penalty be waived since I did not receive a tax bill?
  19. I disagree with my appraised value.  Are there any avenues for appeal?
  20. How can I appeal my property value?
  21. What are my responsibilities, obligations, and procedures for an appeal?
  22. Do I have to pay my property taxes before the appeal is settled?
  23. If I appeal my valuation, will the resulting decision be used in future years?

  1. What is the meaning of ad valorem property taxes? Top
    Ad Valorem is Latin for "according to value". It is a tax based on the value of Real Estate or Personal Property and is imposed and calculated on an annual basis. It is a local tax that reflects local budget priorities and needs of Local Governments and Schools.

  2. Who determines the value of my property for tax purposes? Top
    The Whitfield County Assessors’ Office determines your property value.  This responsibility is managed by the Chief Appraiser, under the supervision of the Board of Tax Assessors

  3. What steps do the Tax Assessors use when they appraise my property? Top
    We use three approaches in appraising your property with information derived from local sources:
    • The sales comparison — based on sales prices of local like and comparable properties
    • The cost approach — based on the local estimated costs of replacement or reproduction of structures, less accumulated depreciation, plus land value
    • The income capitalization process — based on how investors put prices on local investment properties

  4. What is an assessment notice and why did I receive one? Top
    An assessment notice is a document sent to inform you of the value placed on your property for property tax reasons. The value indicated on the notice is an estimate of fair market value. An assessment notice will be sent to you any time a value change occurs or Annually Pursuant to SB346.

  5. What is the difference between sales price and market value? Top
    "Market value" is what a knowledgeable buyer would pay a willing seller in a normal market.  "Sales price" is a historical fact from a particular transaction which may or may not reflect the conditions of a normal market.

  6. What would cause my property to increase without making any improvements?   Top
    With rapid changes in some areas, some properties may require more frequent updates. Property valuation update decisions are based on the sale/market activity in your area.
  7. What are some other reasons for a property appraisal increase?   Top
    There are two primary categories that may explain why your property appraisal increased:
    1. Improvement or New Construction: if you have built a house, commercial building, storage building, in-ground pool etc. you will receive an assessment notice showing the increased value due to the improvement
    2. Value Update: The Board of Assessors is required by law to value property at “fair market value”. Additionally, the county may have to pay additional taxes or penalties to the state if property valuations fall below fair market value. Therefore, in order to keep property valuations within fair market value, property appraisals may be adjusted regularly.

  8. I agree with my property valuation, why did values increase so much in one year?   Top
    There are two primary categories that may explain why your property appraisal increased:
    1. Improvement or New Construction: if you have built a house, commercial building, storage building, in-ground pool etc. you will receive an assessment notice showing the increased value due to the improvement
    2. Value Update: The Board of Assessors is required by law to value property at “fair market value”. Additionally, the county may have to pay additional taxes or penalties to the state if property valuations fall below fair market value. Therefore, in order to keep property valuations within fair market value, property appraisals may be adjusted regularly.

  9. Who sets the millage rates?   Top
    Millage rates are set by the Local Governing Bodies, Authorities and Public School Boards.  

  10. What is the assessment percentage in Georgia and who sets it?   Top
    The assessment percentage is 40% of market value, and is set according to the laws of Georgia. In Whitfield County the assessment percentage is 40%, however, in the city of Dalton the assessment percentage is 100% of market value.

  11. How is the amout of my property tax determined?   Top
    Below is the formula for calculating a tax bill:

    1. Fair Market Value of Property * Rate of Assessment = Assessed Value (40% County and 100% City)  
    2. Assessed Value - Applicable Exemptions = Net Taxable Value (Note that there are varying amounts for the exemptions depending on the levying authority and the exemption)
    3. Net Taxable Value * Milleage Rate for each levying authority (the rate is per $1,000 of value, example: the multiplier for 21 mills is .021) = Total Tax Bill
  12. If my property value and assessment remain the same, can my tax bill change?   Top
    Yes. If your property value does not change you can see a change in your tax bill due to a change in the mill rate. If the mill rate is decreased you can actually see a reduction in the amount of property tax you owe from the previous year.

  13. How can I have a tax increase with no mill rate change?   Top
    A change in your assessed value or the loss of an exemption could produce a tax increase for you.

  14. When will I receive a property tax bill?   Top
    Property tax bills are typically mailed in October. If you have not received a tax bill by the end of October, please contact the Tax Commissioner's Office at (706)275-7510.

  15. How can I qualify for a Homestead Exemption?   Top
    To qualify you must own and occupy the property as your legal residence as of January 1 of the current tax year. You must apply between January 1 and June 1 to receive the exemption. For additional information on eligibility or the proper method of applying for an exemption, you may call the Tax Commissioners’ Office at (706)275-7510.

  16. Are there any other exemptions available?   Top
    Yes.  There are several special exemptions which are available.  For more exemption information please reference the exemptions page on this website.

  17. I disagree with my appraised value.  Are there any avenues for appeal?
  18. If I did not own my home for the full year, can my taxes be prorated?   Top
    No. Taxes are calculated for the entire year. If a contractual agreement was made at your closing to designate another party responsible or partly responsible for the payment of taxes, we suggest you contact your closing attorney.

  19. Can the interest and penalty be waived since I did not receive a tax bill?   Top 
    No. Failure to receive a tax bill does not relieve you of the responsibility to make payment by the due date. If you did not receive a tax bill, please contact our office through this website, by telephone, or by visiting one of our locations to request a bill.

  20. I disagree with my appraised value.  Are there any avenues for appeal?    Top  
    Yes, provided you have appeal rights for any given year.

    The grounds for appeal are:

    • Property Value
    • Taxability
    • Uniformity
    • Denial of exemption
    • Breach of Covenant
    • Denial of Covenant

    The avenues available to you for appeal are: (You must select one of the following options)

    • BOE: Appeal to the county board of equalization with appeal to the superior court (any / all grounds)
    • ARBITRATION: to arbitration without an appeal to the superior court (valuation is only grounds that may be appealed to arbitration)
    • HEARING OFFICER: for a parcel of non-homestead property with a FMV in excess of $1 million, to a hearing officer with appeal to superior court (value and uniformity only)
    • SC: Directly to Superior Court (requires consent of BOA) (any / all grounds)
    • Additional fees may apply

  21. How can I appeal my property value?   Top
    If you feel your property value is not reflective of the fair market value, you should file a Property Tax Return requesting a change in assessment between January 1 and April 1 with the Tax Assessor's Office. For additional information on filing a return, please see the assessment and appeals link on the Tax Assessor home page or contact the Tax Assessor's at (706)275-7410.

  22. What are my responsibilities, obligations, and procedures for an appeal?   Top

    Appeals may be started in response to assessment change notices generated by the Property Appraisal and Assessment Administration office.  You can file a return between January 1 and April 1 declaring your opinion of value, or the appraisers may reappraise your property.  Either of these actions will result in an Assessment Change Notice.  Once you receive an Assessment Change Notice, you must respond within 45 days from the mailing date of the notice. The deadline date is included in the Assessment Change Notice.


  23. Do I have to pay my property taxes before the appeal is settled?   Top
    Yes. If your property is under appeal, you will receive a Temporary Tax Bill with a value set at the higher of your return value or 85% of the value proposed by the Board of Tax Assessors. You are required to pay the bill by the due date in order to avoid interest and fees. A refund and/or an adjusted bill will be provided after the appeal is resolved.

  24. If I appeal my valuation, will the resulting decision be used in future years?   Top
    Under a recent State law, the Board of Tax Assessors cannot alter the result of the Board of Equalization or Court for two years, without an on-site inspection of the property.

Back to Tas Assessor's Page