Understanding Homestead Exemptions

If you own a home in Georgia, you may be eligible for a valuable property tax relief program known as the Homestead Exemption.

The Homestead Exemption is a program offered by the state of Georgia to homeowners who use their property as their primary residence. It provides relief from property taxes by exempting a certain amount of a home’s assessed value from taxation, ultimately lowering the homeowner’s property tax bill.

  • Primary Residence Requirement: To qualify for the Homestead Exemption, your property must be your primary residence. This means you live in the home for a significant portion of the year, and it is not used as a rental property or vacation home.
  • Assessed Value Exemption: The exemption applies to a specified amount of the property’s assessed value, reducing the taxable value of your home. This exemption can result in significant savings on your annual property tax bill.
  • Application Process: Homeowners need to apply for the Homestead Exemption through the Tax Assessor’s Office. The application typically requires proof of residency and other documentation. It’s essential to submit the application within the specified timeframe to ensure eligibility for the tax year.
  • Financial Benefits: The financial benefits of the Homestead Exemption can vary based on factors such as property value and local tax rates. However, eligible homeowners can enjoy substantial savings on their property taxes.
  • Additional Exemptions: In addition to the standard Homestead Exemption, your county may offer additional exemptions for seniors, veterans, and disabled individuals. These exemptions provide extra relief for specific qualifying groups.

If you purchased or owned the home last year and it was occupied on January 1st, the deadline to apply for the Homestead Exemption is April 1st.

As for the property tax payment process, homeowners will generally receive their valuations, have an opportunity to appeal, then have 60 days from the date of billing to pay the bill.

It’s crucial to stay informed about the eligibility criteria, application process, and any additional exemptions that may apply to your situation. If you have specific questions or need assistance, reaching out to your local Tax Commissioner’s Office.

10 Ways to Lower Property Taxes

At Atlanta Seniors Real Estate, we understand that managing property-related expenses is essential. One significant expense you may want to reduce is your property tax bill.

Property taxes are a necessary part of homeownership, but there are some easy ways to find tax relief. Here are ten effective strategies to help you save tax dollars.

1. Know Your Property’s Value: Review your property assessment carefully to ensure it’s accurate. If you find discrepancies, consider filing an appeal with your local tax assessor’s office.

2. Homestead Exemption: A homestead exemption can significantly reduce your property tax burden. Check with your local tax authority to see if you qualify and how to apply.

3. Explore Property Tax Relief Programs: Some jurisdictions offer property tax relief programs for eligible homeowners, particularly seniors, veterans, and low-income individuals.

4. Consider Renovations Wisely: Before undertaking major renovations, consider how they may impact your property tax assessment. Some improvements can increase your property’s value, leading to higher taxes.

5. Challenge Property Assessment: If you believe your property’s assessed value is too high, consider appealing it.

6. Look for Errors in Property Records: Ensure that all details about your property, such as square footage, number of bedrooms, and other key features, are accurate so you don’t have an overassessment.

7. Explore Tax Deferral Programs: Tax deferral programs allow you to postpone property tax payments until a future date, such as when you sell your property, or it passes to your heirs. It may not lower your tax bill but it can provide financial flexibility.

8. Stay Informed About Tax Changes: Property tax laws and rates can change, so stay informed about local tax developments.

9. Be Mindful of Local Politics: Understand the positions of local candidates and their proposed policies regarding property taxes when voting.

10. Invest in Energy Efficiency: Improving your home’s energy efficiency not only reduces utility bills but can also qualify you for tax credits or exemptions in some areas.

Cities and communities have unique rules and opportunities, so research your area’s regulations and, if you have questions, speak with a tax professional. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help you make the most informed decisions about your real estate investments.

*Property taxes in Georgia are due December 20th.