Owning property in Georgia can be highly beneficial, whether you're a homeowner or property manager/landlord. However, property taxes can be confusing for most people to understand.
Whether you have a condo in Atlanta or a small home elsewhere, it's important to understand property taxes. How often do you pay this tax, and how is it calculated? Could you legally lower the price you pay? These questions are on everyone's mind, and this comprehensive guide will help you.
We'll focus on the essential dates, calculations, rates, exemptions, and more. Therefore, you'll have everything you need to pay your Georgia property taxes at the right time.
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Understanding Ad Valorem Taxes in Georgia
There is only one type of property tax property owners must pay in Georgia. It's called the ad valorem tax. This is determined by the assessed value of the property. Typically, the tax assessor's office will note the fair market value of the house using various parameters, including the property type and neighborhood.
How Often Will You Pay Property Tax Each Year in Georgia?
Property taxes in most counties are due on December 20 of each year.
However, this can vary by county, so you should check the Board of Tax Assessors website for more information. You can also ask the tax commissioner if you happen to be in the area at the time.
Consequences of Late Payments
Typically, you have about 60 days from the due date on your bill to pay taxes. If you don't do so within that time frame, you'll get a property tax lien. This prevents you from reselling or refinancing the property.
Likewise, the tax commissioner could start foreclosure proceedings 12 months after the tax is due. If successful, you'll lose your home.
Georgia law is quite lenient on property owners when they're facing economic hardships. If you can't pay them, you can set up an installment agreement for your property taxes. This helps you pay them, usually within 60 months.
How to Pay a Property Tax Bill in Georgia
Where you go to pay property taxes depends on whether you have real or personal property.
Typically, you will pay real estate property taxes to the tax commissioner in the property's location (county). However, personal property tax gets paid at the county tax commissioner's office in the county where you reside.
The payment method varies. For example, Fulton County homeowners can pay the property tax online using the e-check payment system or a credit/debit card. That's true in Cobb County too.
How Much Is Property Tax in Georgia?
Overall, property taxes are based on the fair market value for the property, and the Board of Tax Assessors determines how much that is. Likewise, you'll also have to know the tax millage rate to get your tax bill.
The millage rate is as follows: one mill equals $1 of tax per $1,000 of the taxable value. Savannah's millage rate in 2022 was set by the City Council at 12.20, so property owners will pay $12.20 for every $1,000 of taxable value.
Likewise, you'll have the property value, which is appraised by the Board of Tax Assessors. Generally, Georgia gets taxed at the assessment rate of about 40% of the full market value.
Whenever the assessed value of a property changes, the Board of Tax Assessors will notify you by mail. You'll have 45 days from the Notice of Reassessment date to file your appeal if necessary. However, you'll learn about the types of exemptions available later.
How Is Property Tax Calculated in Georgia?
The Board of Tax Assessors determines the amount owed when paying property taxes. You will multiply the property value by the assessment rate and then subtract any exemptions. Take that number and multiply it by the property tax millage rate to equal your tax bill.
Let's say your property has a full market value of $100,000, which was appraised by the Board of Tax Assessors. The assessment rate is 40% of that, which would be $40,000. You have no exemptions as a landlord, so you're still at that number.
One mill equals $1 tax for $1,000 in taxable value. This rate, in Savannah, is $12.20 per $1,000. You would multiply $40,000 by 12.20 and divide by 1,000 to get $488, which is your final bill for property taxes.
How Can I Lower My Property Taxes in Georgia?
You could legally lower your property taxes by using exemptions, such as:
- Homestead Exemption - Once you apply for and are granted the regular homestead exemption, you'll take $4,000 from your assessed value. This automatically continues as long as you don't sell or rent the property.
- Age 65+ Exemption from the State Ad Valorem Tax - If you will qualify for a homestead exemption and are 65 years or older as of the first of the year, you'll qualify for another exemption equalling 100 percent of your home's value for up to 10 acres of land. Ultimately, you don't pay anything for property taxes if you're the property owner.
- Disabled American Veterans - This exemption is given to some disabled veterans and can save them up to $85,645. It applies to all tax levies, but it's restricted to serious disabilities; likewise, you'll have to prove it through the Veterans Administration or from your private physician.
- Un-Remarried Surviving Spouse - If your spouse was a member of the US armed forces and died or was killed because of a war conflict, you could see exemptions of up to $85,645, as long as you're the property owner.
Important Legislature for Georgia Real Estate Investors and Property Owners
There is a property tax relief grant, which is a one-time payment that will refund property taxes back to all homestead owners. There's $950 million available, and it was signed into law on March 13, 2023.
However, it doesn't help landlords who owe real property taxes to the tax commissioner.
Owning property can be a great feeling, and it's a wise investment. However, there are tax bills you have to consider and pay directly to the tax commissioner.
This ad valorem taxation, as it's called, is confusing, but this guide helped you understand what you have to do and when to pay.
If you're curious about other important laws for Georgia real estate investors to know, check out DoorLoop's resources on common legal questions.
Additionally, if you're looking for more tips on property management accounting, check out our whitepaper on the best tips for simplifying this complex process.