Several types of homestead exemptions have been enacted to reduce the tax responsibility for Georgia homeowners. These exemptions apply to homestead property owned by and taxpayer and occupied as his or her legal residence (some exceptions to this rule apply and your tax assessors office can explain them to you). The exemptions are deducted from the assessed value of the property.
To receive the benefit of the homestead exemption, the taxpayer must file an initial application. In Dawson County, the application is filed with the Tax Assessor's Office. The application must be filed between January 1 and April 1 of the year for which the exemption is first claimed by the taxpayer. The homestead application is normally filed at the same time the initial tax return for the homestead property is filed.
Once granted, the homestead exemption is automatically renewed each year. The taxpayer does not have to apply again unless there is a change in ownership of property or the taxpayer seeks to qualify for a different level of exemption.
Under the authority of the State Constitution, several different types of homestead exemptions are provided. In addition, local governments are authorized to provide for increased exemption amounts and several have done so. The tax assessors office in Dawson County can answer questions regarding the standard exemptions as well as any local exemptions that are in place.
The Local County Exemptions supercede the state exemption amount when the local exemption is greater than the state exemption.
HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FILING DATES ARE JANUARY 1st THROUGH APRIL 1st.
Effective June 1, 2005, standard homestead exemptions may be filed for any time during the year. However, exemptions must be filed for by April 1 to apply to the current tax year. You must still own and occupy the property as of January 1 to be eligible.
Standard Homestead Exemption
The Home of each resident of Georgia that is actually occupied and used as the primary residence by the owner may be granted a $2,000 exemption from state, county and school taxes except for school taxes levied by municipalities and except to pay interest on and to retire bonded indebtedness. The $2,000 is deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead. The owner of a dwelling house of a farm that is granted homestead exemption may also claim a homestead exemption in participation with the program of rural housing under contract with the local housing authority. (O.C.G.A 48-5-44)
Residents 65 Years of Age or Older or Disabled May Qualify for Additional Exemption based on Income or Disabled Persons
Residents 65 years of age or over or disabled will receive an additional $65,000 off the assessed value of the property. Income from retirement sources, pensions, and disability income is excluded up to the maximum amount allowed to be paid to an individual and his spouse under the federal Social Security Act.
Residents 62 Years of Age or Older
Residents 62 Years of age or over may claim an exemption if the income of that person and their spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year. Income from retirement sources, pensions, and disability income is excluded up to the maximum amount allowed to be paid to an individual and his spouse under the federal Social Security Act. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-52)
Residents 70 Years of Age or Older
Residents 70 years of age or older may claim a homestead exemption for school district ad valorem taxes for educational purposes in the amount of $120,000 of the assessed value of the homestead. This exemption shall be in lieu of and not in addition to any other homestead exemption applicable to school district ad valorem taxes for educational purposes.
Residents 75 Years of Age or Older
Residents 75 years of age or older may qualify for additional exemptions based on a household income of less than $25,000.
Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veterans
Any qualifying disabled veteran may be granted an exemption of $81,080 from paying property taxes for state, county, municipal, and school purposes. The value of the property in excess of this exemption remains taxable. This exemption is extended to the unremarried surviving spouse or minor children. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-48)
Local School Homestead Exemption
Available for certain homeowners ages 62 and over, by January 1 st and have incomes not exceeding $25,000 for the preceding year. This homestead exemption from Dawson County ad valorem taxes for county purposes and Dawson County School District ad valorem taxes for educational purposes is for an amount of $10,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead.
With respect to all of the homestead exemptions, the board of tax assessors makes the final determination as to eligibility.
For more information contact the assessor's office at 706-344-3590.
What is Conservation Use Property?
Bonafide agicultural property can be assessed at its current use rather than fair market value. Property that qualifies for this special assessment must maintained in the current use for a period of 10 years.
Applications for current use assessment must be filed with the county board of tax assessors between January 1 and April 1. A $12.00 recording fee must accompany all applications.
- Owner must be an individual or family farm corporation, estate, trust or non-profit organization.
- Owner agrees to maintain the property in a qualifying use of ''good faith'' production of agricultural products or timber for 10 years.
- Owner cannot have over 2,000 acres statewide in the Conservation Use Program.
- The Tax Assessors Office may request additional information regarding the use of the property if the office feels it is necessary to determine if the property qualifies for the exemption.
Conservation Use Values
- Conservation values are set by the State of Georgia and cannot be appealed by the taxpayer, however the Board of Tax Assessors must still maintain the fair market value on the property which may still be appealed by the taxpayer.
- The maximum amount that conservation values may be increased is 3% per year or a maximum of 34.39% over the 10-year Covenant.
- Agricultural buildings may be included in the covenant. Although, the current values will not change on the buildings, these buildings would be subject only to the 3% per year maximum increase.
Breach on Contract
- If the owner breaks the Covenant a penalty of twice the taxes saved by the taxpayer will be imposed.
- If the Covenant is broken as a result of death or eminent domain (condemnation) no penalty will be assessed.
- If the Covenant is broken as a result of medically demonstrable illness or foreclosure, the penalty will be the amount of taxes saved for the current year only.
- Leases or contracts for billboard signs or any type of non-qualifying use will breach the Covenant and all penalties will apply. Hunting leases are allowed.
- If the property is sold the purchaser must sign a continuation of the Covenant agreeing to no change in use.
- If the owner desires to omit a portion of a tract from the Covenant they must present to the Assessors' satisfaction a clearly defined description of the portion under the Covenant and a clearly defined description of the portion not under the Covenant.
- The property owner may give up to 5.0 acres to a relative within the 4th degree of civil reckoning provided that relative builds a house on the property received within one year and resides in the house for the remainder of the 10-year period.
- Property owners in a renewal Covenant, who are age 65 or older, may elect to terminate the 10 year Covenant after 3 years of the 10 year Covenant have passed.
For more information contact the assessor's office at 706-344-3590.
The governing authority of any county or municipality may, subject to the approval of the electors of such political subdivision, except from ad valorem taxation, including all such taxes levied for educational purposes and for State purposes, all or any of the following types of tangible property. Application for this exemption must be made each year by April 1 in order to receive the maximum exemption on qualifying Inventory.
1. Inventory of goods in the process of manufacture or production, which shall include all partly finished goods and raw materials, held for direct use or consumption in the ordinary course of the taxpayer's manufacturing or production business in the State of Georgia.
2. Inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced within the State of Georgia in the ordinary course of the taxpayer's manufacturing or production business when held by the original manufacturer or producer of such finished goods. The exemption provided for herein shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is produced or manufactured.
3. Inventory of finished goods which, on the first day of January, are stored in a warehouse, dock or wharf, whether public or private, and which are destined for shipment to a final destination outside the State of Georgia and inventory of finished goods which are shipped into the State of Georgia from outside the State and stored for transshipment to a final destination outside this State. The exemption provided for herein shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is stored in this State.
For further details on Freeport exemption, read O.C.G.A. 48-5-48.2 in its entirety or contact the Tax Assessors office at 706-344-3590.