Tax Commissioner Homestead Exemptions
Several types of homestead exemptions have been enacted to reduce the burden of ad valorem taxation for Georgia homeowners. ‘The exemptions apply-to homestead property owned by the taxpayer and occupied as his or her legal residence (some exceptions to this rule apply and your Tax Commissioner can explain them to you).
To receive the benefit of the homestead exemption, the taxpayer must file an initial application. In Carroll County, the application is filed with the Tax Assessor No later than April 1st of the year for which the exemption is first claimed by the taxpayer and it normally is filed at the same time that the initial tax return for the homesteaded property is filed.
Once granted, the homestead exemption is automatically renewed each year and the taxpayer does not have to apply again unless there is a change of ownership, the taxpayer seeks to qualify for a different kind of exemption, if your exemption is based on income, or if you move.
Under 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 Commissioner in your 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.
Carroll County has such exemptions:Age 65 or older as of January 1st- $8,000 exemption for County and total School tax exemption for primary residence (no income requirements).
Local County Exemption increases as your property is revalued by the Board of Assessors due to market value and applies only to the county portion of your tax bill. Your county exemption will go up to offset the revaluation amount - beginning year 2003. Any improvements will not fall under new law and will result in an increased assessment on your home.
The Standard Homestead Exemption is available to all homeowners who otherwise qualify by ownership and residency requirements and it is an amount up to $2,000 for State and an amount up to $4,000 for County and School. This amount is deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homesteaded property. The exemption applies to the maintenance and operation portion of the mill rate levy. It does not apply to the portion of the mill rate levied to retire bonded indebtedness.
The Standard Elderly School Tax Homestead Exemption Is an increased homestead exemption for homeowners who are 62 years of age by January 1st and the net income of the applicant and spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the preceding year (excluding social security and retirement income). The amount of the exemption is up to $10,000 and applies to school tax including taxes levied to retire bond indebtedness. The amount of the exemption is up to $10,000 deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property.
The Standard Elderly General Homestead Exemption is available to homeowners who otherwise qualify and who are 65 and older where the net income of the applicant and spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the preceding year. Social Security and certain retirement income are excluded from the calculation of the income threshold. This exemption, which is in an amount up to $4,000 deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property applies to county taxes, school taxes and the state tax and it does apply to taxes levied to retire bond indebtedness.
The Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption is available to certain disabled veterans in an amount up to $50,000. This exemption applies to all ad valorem tax levies, however, it is restricted to certain types of very serious disabilities and proof of disability, either from the Veterans Administration or from a private physician in certain circumstances.
The Un-remarried Surviving Spouse Exemption shall be granted in an amount up to $50,000 from all ad valorem taxes levied, if such person’s spouse, who as a member of the armed forces of the United States, was killed or died as a result of any war or armed conflict. Documents from the Secretary of Defense must be provided stating that spousal benefits are received as a result of the death.
The Floating or Varying Homestead Exemption is an exemption which is available to homeowners 62 or older with gross household incomes of $30,000 or less. The exemption applies to state and county ad valorem taxes but it does not apply to school tax. The exemption is called a floating exemption because the amount of the exemption increases as the value of the homestead property is increased. Since, however, the exemption replaces any other state and county exemption already in place for the property, taxpayers should be very careful in making application since, in many instances, the granting of this exemption will initially at least increase the amount of taxes levied on the property.
The Homeowners Tax Relief Grant was authorized for the first time by the Governor and the General Assembly in 1999. In any year the General Assembly may appropriate funds for a tax relief credit and shall specify the eligible assessed value of each qualified homestead receiving one of the normal homestead exemptions. This tax relief is shown on the property tax bill as a credit against taxes that other wise would have been due.
In addition to the various homestead exemptions that are authorized, the law also provides a Property Tax Deferral Program whereby qualified homestead. property owners 62 and older with gross household income of $15,000 or less may defer but not exempt the payment of ad valorem taxes on a part or all of the homestead property. Generally, the tax would be deferred until the property ownership changes or until such time that the deferred taxes plus interest reach a level equal to 85% of the fair market value of the property.
With respect to all of the homestead exemptions, the Board of Tax Assessors makes the final determination as to eligibility; however, if the application is denied the taxpayer must be notified and an appeal procedure is then available for the taxpayer.
Effective June 1, 2005 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.