In the State of Georgia, there are special benefits conferred to properties that qualify as homesteads. Only homeowners can receive the benefits of a homestead property, and these benefits are only available if the home is the owner’s legal residence as of January 1 of the taxable year. There is an exception to the primary residence rule if the homeowner was away from home during the year due to health reasons.

What is the Georgia Property Tax Homestead Exemption?

If a homeowner owns a qualified Georgia Homestead Property under the preceding definition, then he or she can apply to receive a Property Tax Homestead Exemption. This statewide tax exemption is designed to ease some of the burden caused by property taxes.

Homeowners may only apply for one homestead exemption, and they cannot receive the homestead exemption on any other property, including other counties in Georgia or in other states. Depending on the county where the property is located, applications can be submitted online, in person, or through regular mail.

In general, you will only need to apply for the homestead exemption once, and then the exemption will continue to apply as long as there is no change in ownership, name, spelling, or any other correction on the deed. You will, however, need to reapply if you want to qualify for a different exemption.

Standard Homestead Exemption:

Each Georgia home that is occupied and used as the primary residence of the owner may be granted a $2,000 deduction from 40% of the fair market value of the home.

65 Years of Age or Older:

Homeowners 65 years of age or older may claim a $4,000 exemption from all counties if the household income does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year (retirement from retirement sources, pensions, disability is excluded up to the maximum amount allowed to be paid to an individual under the federal SSA. In 2018, this is $66,912).

Disabled Veteran or Surviving Spouse:

Qualifying disabled veterans may be granted an exemption of $60,000 plus an additional sum from paying property taxes for county, municipal, and school purposes. The additional sum is set by the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In 2018, it’s $81,080. The value of the property in excess of this amount remains taxable. This this exemption is extended to the surviving spouse that has not remarried.

County Exemptions: Above and Beyond

Although the State of Georgia offers the homestead exemption to all qualified homeowners in the state, some counties and cities have chosen to extend their homestead exemptions by local legislation. In response to rising home values, many counties have also implemented a freeze on valuation. As long as the homeowner continues to qualify for the homestead exemption, these counties will either wholly freeze the property valuation or limit increasing property values for the purpose of property tax assessment.

Fulton County: Fulton County Board of Assessors

Basic Exemption extended to $30,000

Homestead Freeze: Taxes are tied to the Consumer Price Index, so home value increases at the growth rate of the CPI or 3% per year, whichever is less. This freeze only applies for the county maintenance and operations part of the property tax bill. It does not apply to the school or city taxes.

Fulton County Exemptions Guide

DeKalb County: DeKalb County Tax Commissioner

Basic Exemption extended to $30,000

The Homestead Freeze is only on the county portion of the tax bill. This freeze does not apply to school, city, or state taxes.

Gwinnett County: Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner

Basic Exemption extended to $10,000

Value Offset Exemption freezes the assessed value of the property on county portion. This freeze does not apply to school and city taxes. The freeze only applies to the home and up to 5 acres of land.

Cobb County: Cobb County Tax Commissioner

Basic Exemption extended to $10,000

Douglas County: Douglas County Tax Commissioner

Basic Exemption extended to $6,000

The homestead freeze is only on the county portion of the tax bill.

Clayton County: Clayton County Tax Commissioner

Basic Exemption extended to $10,000

Coweta County: Coweta County Tax Assessor

Basic Exemption extended to $7,000

Fayette County: Fayette County Tax Commissioner

The basic exemption for this county is $2,000 on state and school and $5,000 on county and fire.

When/How Can Homeowners Apply for the Homestead Exemption?

Each year, property tax returns must be filed by April 1. Applications for Homestead Exemptions are also due on that date. Exemptions filed after April 1 will not count for that tax year and will be suspended until the following calendar year. Although the deadline is April 1, Homestead Exemption Applications can be filed at any time during the year. The only requirements to qualify for the homestead exemption in a given year are that the applicant owned the home on January 1st of that year and submitted the application prior to April 1.

To file for the Georgia Property Tax Homestead Exemption, Georgia residents will either need to apply in person, online, or vial regular mail within the City or County where they live. In some counties, applications should be sent to the Tax Commissioner’s Office. In others, the Tax Assessor’s Office collects Homestead Exemption applications.

Get in Touch with an Experienced Real Estate Attorney for Assistance

If you are a Georgia homeowner who has not yet taken advantage of the homestead laws, or if you are considering changing your homestead exemption status, contact Brian M. Douglas & Associates. Our experienced real estate attorneys can help you decode your county’s homestead exemption laws to ensure you are making the most of your eligible benefits.