Fulton County and DOR Settle 2017 Digest Dispute

In July 2019, the Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors and Georgia Department of Revenue settled their dispute over Fulton County’s 2017 digest. After two years of litigation, Fulton’s 2017 assessment values and tax bills will finally be finalized.

Fulton settles with state in tax fight; homeowners won’t owe

The battle boiled down to whether Fulton had the right to freeze 2017 residential property values. Thousands of homeowners can keep their wallets closed because Fulton County and the state have ended their legal battle over frozen 2017 property values, said Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts.

Some back ground: In summer 2017, the Fulton Tax Assessors office issued assessment notices with many residential properties seeing significant increases. Following an uproar from homeowners, the County Commissioners (relying on a law from the 1880s concerning correcting errors in values) ordered the Tax Assessors to cancel the 2017 assessment notices and issue new notices, with residential values rolled back to the 2016 values. The Department of Revenue then refused to accept Fulton’s digest, contending that cancelling the notices was an unlawful action by the Tax Assessors.

Lawsuits followed – the Tax Assessors and Department of Revenue filed claims and counterclaims in Superior Court, which were eventually heard in late 2018. A Superior Court judge sided with Fulton County, ordering the Department of Revenue to accept the digest. The Department of Revenue appealed to the Court of Appeals.

In July 2019, citing in part the time, expense and financial burden of the litigation on residents of Fulton County, the parties reached a settlement. You can read the settlement HERE. The Department of Revenue agreed to waive certain requirements as to the 2017 digest and accept the values in exchange for assurances that the Tax Assessors would comply with Georgia law and regulations in the future, and not rely on the 1880s law again to cancel assessment notices.

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