Considering a New Roof? Here Comes the Tax Man

Residents in Johns Creek are finding the city’s adoption and stepped up enforcement of Permissive building codes and permits, et al, is having an interesting consequence beyond anything publicly discussed so far.

The consequence involves a visit from the Fulton County tax assessor. In some cases, these are homeowners who have lived in the same house for 20+ years and may have had projects done many years ago under totally a different permitting authority and different rules. Yet now, after all this time, the county has suddenly awakened and is following up to reassess for tax purposes.

For some homeowners, a new roof is triggering the visit. The roofer must obtain a permit from Johns Creek to do the roof work. But interestingly, no one ever sees any follow-up on the part of the city to inspect or approve the quality or “life safety” of the new roof. So for such a project, one might ask, why require a permit? Don’t answer yet, read on.

It seems the city and the county have new and improved communication channels. The new roof permit from the city is prompting the attention of county tax assessors. He or she will then pay you a visit and look at any house roofline changes, regardless of the age of the associated project. If you ask, the assessor will tell you which recent permit prompted their sudden diligence. No excuses are offered about the county’s non-existent reassessment follow-up over the passing decades!

Presumably, the new roof itself doesn’t change your home’s value assessment. But be aware, during the visit the assessor might ask if you have re-done your kitchen or finished your basement or added other finished square footage since your last reassessment. Your last assessment may have been when you bought your house! And you better hope your home builder accurately filed your homes’ taxable details at the time of closing. But relax. The silver lining here is that such reassessment increases won’t be retroactive.

With the city’s Permissive Code permit enforcement, it won’t be long before Fulton County tax assessors won’t need to ask you anything about changes to your home. They will already know the changes and the costs, as filed with the required city permits. Finishing a room in your house, for example, would require any number of trade permits, all of which could trigger a county reassessment. And I shouldn’t have to tell you that part of this tax money goes to Johns Creek. We are told by our current city leaders that we need to grow, urbanize, expand business presence, widen roads, and be competitive. All of this requires money!

No one is advocating the avoidance of property tax responsibility. It’s just interesting to note how tax reassessment diligence has suddenly improved and what is actually driving this. If you have followed the Permissive Code topic in city meetings, you might now understand why the city struggles to provide a clear list of project work that requires permitting. This might make the dots a little too easy to connect for citizens.

If you have lived in your home for a while and you have had a Fulton County tax assessor visit you recently to review house projects that are old or very old, perhaps you can share your experience below.

8 Responses to Considering a New Roof? Here Comes the Tax Man

  1. Lydia says:

    Not sure I understand the below excerpt from this article. Is the assumption that some homeowners currently conceal improvements to their property to avoid reassessment and not pay their fair share of the tax load? Seems like this is kind of like employers sending the IRS my annual wage earnings so that some tax cheats can’t lie about their earnings.
    “it won’t be long before Fulton County tax assessors won’t need to ask you anything about changes to your home. They will already know the changes and the costs, as filed with the required city permits. Finishing a room in your house, for example, would require any number of trade permits, all of which could trigger a county reassessment.”

    • Editor says:

      One of the main reasons the City of JC was formed was to get away from the over-taxation and under representation.

      What we have now is essentially aiding and abetting to increase our property taxes for things that should be considered “general maintenance” such as replacing a roof.

      We can’t forget that when property taxes are increase through increased property value/assessments, City of JC taxes increase as well.

      One tax hand benefits the other tax hand.
      All Governments after all, want your tax dollars.

      • Lydia says:

        Replacing a roof or replacing a water heater was not the point of my comment. Additional property improvements e.g finishing a basement should be factored into the value of the property for tax purposes. No different from buying on black market to avoid paying sales tax.

        • Anonymous says:

          Lydia, the vast majority of Internet sales do not involve local sales tax. Is that a
          ”black market”? For example, I can avoid paying TSPLOST since I opposed this tax and the way the voting was regionally extorted.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lydia, I think the assumption is that many homes in this area had tons of upgrades under Fulton County permitting rules, prior to Johns Creek. Under those rules, trade work for something like finishing a room didn’t require permitting. Therefore, reassessments were never prompted. Fulton County wasn’t about to do the inspection work anyway. And even when permits were filed to Fulton County back then, they rarely reassessed. Are these homeowners cheaters? Should these homeowners have insisted on a reassessment themselves? But all that has changed now with the formation of Johns Creek and the adoption and enforcement of Permissive codes. Fulton County doesn’t have the inspection burden, the city does. And under the pretense of public safety, whether the city does an inspection or not, the county now has a prompting mechanism to come out and check on all these cheaters. It’s a sweet arrangement.

  2. EJ Moosa says:

    Let’s have some real honest conversation about property values and property taxes. The only way you truly know the “value” of your home is when you sell it and when someone has given you a check.

    Otherwise, they are just educated guesses. And we are spending a lot of money to come up with those educated guesses.

    Exactly why should you pay more “property taxes” going forward for having made improvements to the interior of your home? Will you have more demands on government services because of your improvements?

    Should your enhanced enjoyment of your home, paid for with taxable items, really create a taxable event with dollars going to the County, School System, and City Government?

    If people want to talk about “fairness”, then we would be talking about a system where you taxes were related to the number of occupants in your home and the burden on services that they generate. Empty nesters are paying more in property taxes per capita than families with two or three children. What might be fair about that?

    Have you got a family of 5 paying a $6,000 property tax bill? That works out to $1200 per person. Family of two? $3,000 per person.

    Guess which family will have more tax dollars spent on their behalf?

    When you really think about, there is nothing “fair” about property taxes at all.

    • Lydia says:

      Agree that the current method (property tax) of financing schools, public safety and other vital government services is flawed. Until such time as there is a change, we should be making sure the tax property tax basis if fair. When you buy a home, the assessor knows what you paid and has the fair market value. After that, they can only use metrics that are known for estimates (lot size, footprint, construction type, total rooms, bedrooms, baths, etc. More metrics known, better estimates. Appeals process available to resolve mitigating factors.

    • Suzi says:

      You really need to run for city council….:-)