Over the last few weeks, there has been a huge amount of concern expressed about the most recent Oconee County property tax reassessment. And, frankly, I share that concern.

I think it is important for you to know what to do if you disagree with the reassessment of your property. Here are the steps you should take:

1. File an appeal by no later than December 9, 2011. If it is filed one day late, it will not be accepted. You can get the appeal form from the Tax Assessor’s Office. The staff there will even help you fill it out or you can consult a real estate professional who might be willing to help you file your appeal for a reasonable fee.

2. You will have a discussion of your appeal with the Assessor’s Office sometime after you file the appeal. If they do not agree with your appeal, you may accept their opinion OR you may ask to appeal it further.

3. The next step in the appeal process is to present your case before the Board of Assessment Appeals. Fortunately, you will not need an attorney. This board is composed of nine Oconee County citizens who are recommended by the county legislative delegation and appointed by the governor. They are fair minded and knowledgeable.

4. Finally, if you do not agree with the outcome of the Board of Assessment Appeals, you can appeal to the SC Administrative Law Court. This court is located in Columbia. Again, it is important to understand that you are not required to have an attorney.

If your assessment is under appeal at the time that your property taxes are due, you are required to pay 80 percent of the amount of the taxes. If paying 80 percent results in an underpayment, you will be required to pay interest on the difference. However, if you pay 100 percent of the tax bill while it is under appeal and the appeals process determines that you have overpaid, the county must pay you interest on the amount of overpayment.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to file your appeal by December 9, otherwise your appeal is not valid.

I wish you success in getting an assessment that is fair and that accurately reflects the market value of your property.