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Revenue Department Partners with Institute of Government for Online Training Course

December 16, 2014
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Leaders with the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) turned to a longtime training partner to fulfill a legislative directive for an online course. This will keep members of the county Boards of Equalization up-to-date with laws governing the assessment and valuation of real estate and personal property in Georgia.

The DOR has a longstanding training partnership with the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Given the vibrant and growing body of online courses developed by the Institute over the past decade, it naturally followed that the Institute was well-equipped to help the DOR create an online continuing education course for Georgia’s 159 county Boards of Equalization.

Since 2003, the Institute has been producing online courses for finance professionals in state agencies and local governments, library systems and charter schools across Georgia and beyond the state’s borders. This year, the Institute’s Governmental Training, Education and Development Division worked with the DOR to create an online course designed to fulfill the annual continuing education requirement for members and alternate members of county Boards of Equalization.

The boards are staffed by local citizens and hear appeals of property tax assessments. New board members must complete a 40-hour course to acquaint them with their roles on the board. Then each year they must complete an update refresher course. In the past, this update training was offered only in a live, face-to-face format.

With more than 1,350 Board of Equalization members and alternates across the state, updating training alone can be quite expensive. Additionally, annual face-to-face training for all members and alternates consumes significant time and other resources. To reduce the cost to taxpayers, the Georgia General Assembly directed the DOR to start providing online training.

The DOR’s Local Government Services Division — which manages the department’s training program — chose the annual Board of Equalization update course as the first online offering. Course development began in January 2014, and online training was made available to board members July 1 through the Institute’s partnership with the UGA Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

“The Board of Equalization update training was immediately targeted not only to save taxpayer dollars spent on training but also to relieve Superior Court clerks of time, money and other resources associated with their supervisory responsibilities over the Boards of Equalization,” said Ellen Mills, director of local government services for DOR.

So far, 193 Board of Equalization members representing 65 counties have enrolled in the update course. Board members can take the online class any time they wish during the 30-day period following registration.

Though the course is less than 6 months old, board members are already reacting favorably to its accessibility and convenience.

“The ease of understanding the course content and navigating through the online system makes me want to take another course,” one participate commented. “I love the ability to work at my own pace,”

For more information about this course and how to register, please contact Anna Boling at boling@uga.edu or Myra Byrd at byrdcpa@uga.edu.

About the Author

Anna Boling, a faculty member with UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, manages continuing education programs for the Georgia Association of Assessing Officials and the Georgia Association of Tax Officials. Boling, an attorney, also coordinates three certificate-based continuing education programs — one each for the Georgia Probate Court Judges and the Georgia Superior Court Clerks and another for the Georgia Association of Code Enforcers. In addition, she assists with other work conducted by the Institute in support of the Georgia Rural Development Council.

 

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