Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
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Rule 560-11-13-.01 Applicability of Rules

(1) The rules in this Chapter shall apply to and govern ad valorem tax assessment appeal hearings held by a county hearing officer, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 48-5-311.
(2) The actions, decisions and orders of a county hearing officer are subject to the appeals procedures as provided in this section and O.C.G.A. § 48-5-311.
(3) The county hearing officer is empowered to exercise the same degree of authority and perform the same actions as hearing officers under O.C.G.A. § 50-13-13.

Rule 560-11-13-.02 Nature of the Proceeding; Hearing Procedure; Burden of Proof

The hearings held under these Regulations shall only be as formal as is necessary to preserve order and be compatible with the principles of justice.

(1) Parties shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel. Documents or other written evidence to be presented at the hearing by a party must be provided to the other party not less than seven (7) days prior to the time of the hearing and that any failure to comply with this requirement shall be grounds for an automatic continuance or for exclusion of such documents or other written evidence. The decision to continue a proceeding or exclude documents or records shall be within in the discretion of the hearing officer.
(2) The parties shall also have the right to respond and present evidence on all issues involved and to cross-examine all witnesses.
(3) The standard of proof on all issues in the hearing shall be a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence is established when one party's evidence is of greater weight or is more convincing than the evidence offered in opposition to it, in that, the evidence, when taken as a whole, shows that the fact in dispute has been proven by one party to be more probable than not.
(4) When a hearing is being held regarding a county's board of tax assessors' tax assessment, the county board of tax assessors shall have the burden of proof in regards to fair market value and the validity of proposed assessment, not taxability.
(a) If a hearing is being held regarding a property tax exemption, then the party seeking the property tax exemption shall have the burden of proving entitlement.
(5) The county board of tax assessors shall present its case first, unless a taxpayer elects to present first and the hearing officer, in his or her discretion, allows it.

Rule 560-11-13-.03 Evidence; Official Notice

(1) The rules of evidence in hearings covered by this Chapter shall be substantially as follows:
(a) Irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded;
1. The rules of evidence as applied in the trial of civil non-jury cases in the superior courts shall be followed as far as practicable.
2. Evidence not admissible under superior court rules may be admitted when necessary to discover facts not reasonably understood from the previously admitted evidence.
3. Except where precluded by statute, if the evidence presented it is of a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons, a hearing officer has discretion as to whether to admit the evidence or not.
(b) Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts if the original is not readily available;
1. Upon request, parties shall be given an opportunity to compare the copy with the original or have it established as documentary evidence according to the rules of evidence applicable to the superior courts of Georgia;
(c) A party may conduct such cross-examination as required for a full and true disclosure of the facts;
(d) Official notice may be taken of judicially recognizable facts and generally recognized technical facts or records within the agency's specialized knowledge.
1. The parties shall be notified of any material so noticed and shall be afforded the opportunity to contest such material at the hearing.

Rule 560-11-13-.04 Continuances and Postponements

(1) Matters set for hearing may be continued or postponed within the sound discretion of the county hearing officer upon timely motion by either party.
(2) The county hearing officer may on his own motion continue or postpone the hearing.

Rule 560-11-13-.05 Subpoena Forms; Service

(1) Either party may obtain subpoena forms from the Clerk of Superior Court by making a timely request.
(2) Service, proof of service and enforcement of subpoenas shall be as provided by Georgia law and shall be the responsibility of the party requesting the subpoena.

Rule 560-11-13-.06 Transcripts of Hearing

(1) Any party may request that the hearing be conducted before a court reporter, or recorded in audio and/or video.
(2) The request shall be in writing and include an agreement by the requesting party that he or she shall pay the costs incurred by the request or that he or she shall procure at his or her own cost and on his or her own initiative, the court reporting or recording services for the hearing.
(3) Regardless of who makes the arrangements or requests the transcript, or tape or video record be made, the original transcript, or tape or video record of the proceedings shall be submitted to the county hearing officer prior to the close of the hearing record if the transcript, or tape or video is to be made part of the record.

Rule 560-11-13-.07 Case Presentment

In accordance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act, a party shall be entitled to present his case or defense by oral or documentary evidence, to submit rebuttal evidence, and to conduct such cross-examination as may be required for a full and true disclosure of the facts.

Rule 560-11-13-.08 Ruling; Decision

(1) The decision of the county hearing officer shall clearly state the ruling regarding the property's value and uniformity, where applicable.
(2) The decision of the county hearing officers shall be rendered pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 48-5-311 (e.1)(7).
(3) When a taxpayer authorizes an agent, representative, or attorney in writing to act on the taxpayer's behalf, the decision of the county hearing officer shall be provided to such agent, representative, or attorney pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 48-5-311(o).

Rule 560-11-13-.09 Hearing Location

A hearing conducted by a county hearing officer under this Chapter, shall be held in the county where the property is located unless all parties agree to hold the hearing at a mutually agreed upon location.

Rule 560-11-13-.10 Swearing In Witnesses

(1) Before a witness is allowed to testify at a hearing, the witness must first be sworn-in by swearing or affirming to tell the truth.
(a) The county hearing officer shall be responsible for swearing in all witnesses and must administer the following oath:

"Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

Rule 560-11-13-.11 Hearing Officer Procedural Form

A county hearing officer shall follow the procedures as outlined in Hearing Officer Procedure Form-1 when conducting an administrative hearing under this Chapter.

Rule 560-11-13-.12 Hearing Officers and the Administrative Procedures Act

The Administrative Procedures Act is not applicable, but where referenced in this Chapter, the Administrative Procedures Act was used as a guideline for the Regulations in order to ensure due process.