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Tax appeal completed

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By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

A tax appeal yielded big savings for Morgan County and the Morgan County Board of Education. The Morgan County Board of Education appealed the 2013 Sale Ratio Study from the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts earlier this year. The results yielded big savings for the county. Now that the county ratio has been adjusted up to 36.22 percent, from 34.84 percent originally, the estimated savings amount is $123,000 for the school board in tax money and an estimated $10,000 for the county. The original ratio study ranked Morgan County with a 34.84 ratio, placing the county in the bottom five counties across the state for property sales compared to their assessed values. According to Chuck Anglin, any county that does not earn a ratio between a 36-40 percent could be fined $5 per parcel. Morgan County has over 12,000 parcels, which would equal over $60,000 in fines had the ratio remained at 34.84 percent. After the appeal process, which involves the addition and deletion of disputed sales, the sale ratio was upped to 36.22, returning the county’s ranking to an acceptable level, albeit, a bare minimum level. “It puts the county in a semi-better position,” said Chuck Anglin, chief tax appraiser for the county. “There are different variables the auditors look at, such as properties that had unusual financing. There are different variables that should have been looked at closer by the state and were not.” The original study addressed the statewide equalized 100 percent adjusted property tax digest report for school tax purposes. This ratio represents a study conducted on 114 properties that sold in Morgan County within the last year. From the 114 chosen properties, a ratio is formed from the property’s assessed value and the price the house is actually sold for. According to Libby Whitaker, chief finance officer for the school board, the discrepancy originated with properties in Morgan County selling for more than the value for which they were assessed. “This ratio is very concerning and I am proposing that we appeal the study,” said Whitaker back in August. Whitaker explained that with each 1 percent increase of this ratio, Morgan County schools would receive $80,000 in tax money. The Morgan County School Board is eligible to appeal the ratio further to seek the ratio increasing even further, ideally to 38 percent, said Anglin. “If it was upped to 38 percent, that could mean about $150,000 for the school board, and $30,000 for the county,” estimated Anglin. The school board has not announced whether or not they will appeal the decision further. tween a 36-40 percent could be fined $5 per parcel. Morgan County has over 12,000 parcels, which would amount to over $60,000 in fines had the ratio remained at 34.84 percent. After the appeal process, which involves the addition and deletion of disputed sales, the sale ratio was upped to 36.22, returning the county’s ranking to an acceptable level, albeit, a bare minimum level. “It puts the county in a semi-better position,” said Chuck Anglin, chief tax appraiser for the county. “There are different variables the auditors look at, such as properties that had unusual financing. There are different variables that should have been looked at closer by the state and were not.” The original study addressed the statewide equalized 100 percent adjusted property tax digest report for school tax purposes. This ratio represents a study conducted on 114 properties that sold in Morgan County within the last year. From the 114 chosen properties, a ratio is formed from the property’s assessed value and the price the house is actually sold for. According to Libby Whitaker, chief finance officer for the school board, the discrepancy originated with properties in Morgan County selling for more than the value for which they were assessed. “This ratio is very concerning and I am proposing that we appeal the study,” said Whitaker back in August. Whitaker explained that with each 1 percent increase of this ratio, Morgan County schools would receive $80,000 in tax money. The Morgan County School Board is eligible to appeal the ratio further to seek the ratio increasing even further, ideally to 38 percent, said Anglin. “If it was upped to 38 percent, that could mean about $150,000 for the school board, and $30,000 for the county,” estimated Anglin. The school board has not announced whether or not they will appeal the decision further.

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