LAWRENCEVILLE -- For 120,000 homeowners, a major property value decrease is in the mail.
Gwinnett's Board of Tax Assessors mailed about 124,000 changes in assessment notices Friday, the first of three mailings expected to total 150,000, a press release said.
The reassessments represent another major downward spiral in the county's tax digest, as the county lost a total of $4.2 billion in residential market value.
In the past two years, nearly every home in the county has been re-evaluted, after the collapse of the housing market and rampant foreclosures caused dwindling values.
This year, home values decreased an average of 17 percent, or $35,000 of market value, the release said.
"The Board of Tax Assessors' appraisal staff has diligently reviewed all sales -- including foreclosures and bank sales -- to select the best course of action to take in every neighborhood involved in the 2010 valuation process," said Chief Appraiser Steve Pruitt. "We also reviewed the market transactions in all of the county's 1,400 neighborhoods and changed values where data supported the adjustments. Many property owners will see value decreases for 2010. The 140,000 value change notices issued this year plus the 65,000 issued last year will cover almost all of the residential properties within the county."
Included in the 120,000 residential property notices were 32,000 returns, filed by people seeking a re-evaluation of their home. The number of returns in 2010 is up 125 compared to 2009, but Pruitt said about 65 percent of them were within neighborhoods that were already being adjusted downward this year.
While the majority of the notices were for value updates, officials said 10,000 notices were the result of new construction or tax returns filed by property owners.
Property owners have 30 days from the date on the notice to file appeals. According to the release, all appeals must be in writing and either USPS-stamped or hand-delivered within the 30-day period. Once an appeal is filed, a staff appraiser will review the additional information provided in the appeal document and make changes if necessary. Then, the Board of Assessors will notify the property owner the results of the appeal review.
Answers to frequently asked questions may be found at www.gwinnett-assessor.com. The Tax Assessors office may be reached at 770 822-7200 or by visiting firstname.lastname@example.org.