Thousands of Georgians still overpaying property taxes



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Jacqueline Petty

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Drue Miller



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dmiller@ajc.com



Thousands of Georgians STILL OVERPAYING PROPERTY TAXES

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution continues investigating Georgia’s flawed property tax system

ATLANTA (Dec. 17, 2010) – One year after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) exposed major flaws in Georgia’s property tax system, a follow-up report shows many issues still exist. The Property Tax Meltdown series will run daily in the AJC from Sunday, Dec. 19 to Dec. 26.
The eight-part series continues investigating individual residential properties and entire neighborhoods impacted by the recent real estate collapse. Data was collected from zip codes within Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Residential property values in these five counties have declined $17.8 billion in value over the past year.
“The AJC’s first duty is to watch out for our readers’ tax dollars and assure they’re paying no more than they have to,” said Bert Roughton, managing editor of the AJC and ajc.com. “A team of AJC reporters spent months analyzing the way counties calculate the home values they use to set our taxes. It’s the second time we’ve done this massive analysis, a report that no other Georgia newsroom has the resources to produce.”
In addition, the AJC talked with housing market experts, public and private assessors and real estate agents to get their thoughts on the current housing climate and when taxpayers can expect to see positive signs things are turning around. The money these taxes provide local governments are declining dramatically. The AJC examines the consequences of dwindling tax revenues and its effects on local government services.
Last year, the AJC examined close to 550,000 property transactions to determine if tax appraisals were lowered to reflect the rapid decline of property values. The in-depth report uncovered thousands of Georgians were overpaying their property taxes by hundreds of millions.
The series’ extensive research helps readers identify whether they’re overpaying taxes. It also provides information on how residents can get their property accurately assessed.
About The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the leading source – both in print and online – of news, information and advertising for metropolitan Atlanta, reaching a total print and online audience of 2 million people each week. Every month, nearly 2.3 million unique visitors access the newspaper's websites, including ajc.com and accessAtlanta.com. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is part of Cox Media Group, a publishing, digital media and broadcasting subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises.
About Cox Media Group
Cox Media Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, is an integrated broadcasting, publishing and digital media company that includes the national advertising rep firms of Cox Reps. With $1.8 billion in revenue, the company operations include 15 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 86 radio stations, four metro newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services. Additionally, CMG owns and operates Valpak, one of the leading direct marketing companies in North America. For more information about Cox Media Group, please check us out online at www.coxmediagroup.com.
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