Once you have purchased your new home, now you have to pay taxes on the property. Property taxes vary quite a bit from county to county, and there are additional property taxes for many incorporated cities in Georgia.
The tax assessor is responsible for determining property values and granting or denying tax exemption applications. The tax commissioner is responsible for collecting property taxes based on the value and exemptions provided by the tax assessor. The county board of commissioners, or other municipal authority, and the Board of Education will set the millage or tax rate. Property taxes are a combination of the tax rate and value of the property, as determined by the tax assessor.
Each year, the tax assessor will send a notice to each homeowner with the property assessed value and estimated tax to be applied to that property. The homeowner normally has about thirty days to appeal the assessed value set by the tax assessor.
There are several real estate property tax exemptions that are statewide in Georgia. Counties and municipalities can offer additional property tax exemptions (and the exemptions can change).
No exemptions are automatic. Homeowners must apply for every exemption for which they qualify. The county tax assessor processes property tax exemption applications, so the forms may be a little different in each county.
In every county in Georgia, homeowners can apply and get a standard homestead exemption if the property is occupied and used as the primary residence of the owner. Georgia offers additional property tax exemptions for individuals 62 years old or older, 65 years old or older, and for disabled veterans.
Surviving spouses of disabled veterans also qualify for a property tax exemption as long as they are not remarried and continue to live in the house. Surviving spouses of U.S. Service members who died in a war or armed conflict are also eligible for a tax exemption as long as they do not remarry.
Surviving spouses of a peace officer (police) or firefighter killed in the line of duty can apply for a homestead exemption for the full value of the home for as long as they live in the home and do not remarry.
If there is a separate city or other municipality tax bill, then homeowners will have to apply for the exemption with both the county and the municipality. Exemptions can save homeowners thousands of dollars in property taxes, but it is the homeowner’s responsibility to apply for property tax exemptions.
Here is a link to a brief overview of the statewide exemptions provided by the Georgia Department of Revenue. https://dor.georgia.gov/property-tax-homestead-exemptions
John C. Bennett is a real estate closing attorney and owner of Origin Title and Escrow, Inc.. Since 2003, Origin Title has handled real estate transactions – purchases, refinances, reverse mortgages – quickly and professionally. There will be no surprises, nothing misunderstood. Title searches are thorough and well-reasoned, to avoid unpleasant surprises later down the road. Calculate your closing costs in Georgia or Florida using our calculator or contact Origin Title using this form.