Fulton County taxpayers can relax and take a deep breath. They will not be receiving any additional property tax bills from the state.
“Today was a win for the taxpayers and that is what matters,” said Fulton District 2 Commissioner Bob Ellis. “I have no regrets about leading the effort to rescind erroneous tax notices.”
At a news conference July 22 in the county’s government center in downtown Atlanta, Fulton Board of Commissioners Chair Robb Pitts signed the settlement agreement in which the state has agreed to accept the county’s 2017 and 2018 tax digests after more than two years of negotiations. Georgia Revenue Commissioner David M. Curry signed it July 19.
This means county taxpayers will not receive any additional state tax notices this year.
“Most importantly, Fulton County property owners no longer face the possible threat of reassessment or rebilling, and no fines or fees will be assessed against the county,” Pitts said.
In addition, the agreement states that the state and county will withdraw any pending litigation, Pitts said. According to the settlement agreement, Curry agreed to approve Fulton’s 2017 and 2018 tax digests.
The state tax commissioner further agreed the previous rejection of Fulton’s 2017 tax digest would not affect the approval, or disapproval, of any future digest submission or digest review for any subsequent year.
District 3 Commissioner and Vice Chair Lee Morris said the commission was very pleased with the settlement as this was a very big issue for taxpayers, “and it would have been a long, drawn out process if this issue had gone contrary to Fulton County’s position.”
“It would have been a mess for taxpayers of Fulton County, so it was important that this issue was settled,” Morris said. “We are grateful to the folks at the state level who worked with us and Fulton County which made this settlement possible.”
Calls to the Georgia Department of Revenue seeking comment on the settlement were not returned by the Neighbor’s deadline.
Ellis said this settlement was lengthy and time consuming, “but it was the right legal, moral and ethical thing to do for taxpayers.”
“For whatever the reason the state chose to challenge, Fulton prevailed during each phase of the count process but the state had continued to appeal,” he said.
“I applaud the new revenue commissioner for agreeing to end a dispute which served no purpose.” Ellis said.
During the news conference, Pitts said properties in Fulton are among the most valuable in the state.
“Our property owners need assurance that the assessment process is fair and accurate,” he said. “Over the last two years, we have invested missions in new technology, new staff, more training and better communications for our property assessment process.”