In the Georgia PT-311A tax appeal form (aka Appeal of Assessment Form), “agent” refers to the person the property owner designates to work, communicate, and act on behalf of the property owner in a specific tax appeal.
In the context of a tax appeal, “agent” does not mean real estate agent, insurance agent, or any other “agent” term you might think of. An “agent” in a tax appeal is simply the person a property owner designates to represent and act on behalf of the property owner during the tax appeal process. A designated “agent” does not have to have any formal training, education, or license to be an agent for a tax appeal. For example, it is not uncommon that homeowners will designate a trusted, knowledgeable family member or friend to be an “agent” on a tax appeal.
Unlike a lawyer or real estate agent where individuals exclusively speak for and on behalf of their clients, tax appeal agents may work with property owners concurrently and cooperatively with the tax assessors office. Or an agent may act as a back up contact to the property owner. However, as a practical matter, it is best to have a firm understanding what a property owner expects from an agent before designating one. And conversely, the agent should be comfortable with the expectations of the property owner before agreeing to be an agent on tax appeal.
Appointing a tax appeal “agent” is generally for the convenience of the property owner to work with the tax assessors office.
It is important to know that on the PT-311A form, there is no way to designate one agent to multiple properties in multiple tax appeals. If a property owner wants to have the same agent on multiple properties in multiple tax appeals, the agent’s name, address, and contact information has to be designated on each and every tax appeal form.
It is also important to understand that a property owner can have an agent on one tax appeal for one property and not have an agent on a separate tax appeal on another property. A property owner that owns multiple properties can potentially appoint different agents to different tax appeals. A property owner might also designate agents on specific tax appeals while having no agent on other tax appeals.
In a PT-311A form, if an agent fills out and signs a tax appeal form on behalf of a property owner, an originally-signed letter of authorization from the property owner must be attached to the tax appeal form. There is nothing fancy about a letter of authorization. I recommend that all original signatures be signed in blue ink to minimize potential confusion that a signed letter might not be original.
Several times, I have been a designated agent on tax appeals for real estate investors who owned multiple properties. In those situations, I created an originally-signed letter of authorization that lists all the properties and the appeals I will be working on for a property owner. A tax assessor clerk will verify the original letter listing multiple properties and then make photocopies to attach to the separate tax appeals.
I caution you that because there are 159 Georgia counties each with their tax assessor offices, you may want to contact your local tax assessor office to make sure they will accept one originally-signed letter listing multiple properties. You might encounter a nit-picky office in which case, you will simply have to a separate originally-signed letter for each tax appeal.