A superior court ruling that the Georgia property tax value for commercial property owned by the taxpayer was limited to the value set by the board of equalization was erroneous.  Although the court found that the tax assessors had met their burden of proving a higher value by a preponderance of the evidence at trial, the court nevertheless concluded that the property value could not exceed the value set by the board of equalization because the tax assessors had not filed a separate cross-appeal of the board of equalization’s decision.

The Georgia Court of Appeals held that the superior court was required to exercise its independent judgment in valuing the property, without being bound by or giving deference to the board of equalization’s findings.  The applicable law indicated that if the final determination of the value on appeal was greater than the valuation set by the board of equalization, the taxpayer must be held liable for the increase in taxes for the year in question.  Therefore, the final determination of value on appeal can be greater than the valuation set by the board of equalization.  Furthermore, there is no provision requiring the tax assessors to file a cross appeal to be heard on its opinion of valuation.  No matter which party initiates the tax appeal, if the tax assessors meet their burden of proving a particular value by a preponderance of the evidence, the court is authorized to enter its valuation determination in the amount that is proven.

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