The Shopper Real Estate: Homestead Exemption can reduce your property taxes

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By Jess Barron, Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors

If I told you that you could lower your property taxes, would that interest you? Pardon the sales approach but I wanted to grab your attention.

In Georgia, we have property tax homestead exemptions. Generally, a homeowner is entitled to a homestead exemption on their home and land underneath, provided the home was owned by the homeowner and was their legal residence as of January 1 of the taxable year (Georgia.gov). In Coweta County, your homestead exemption can be filed at the Tax Commissioner’s Office on Perry Street by April 1 of the taxable year.

With a 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 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 a 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).

There are also exemptions for seniors. Individuals 65 years of age or over may claim a $4,000 exemption from all county ad valorem taxes if the income of that person and his 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. The social security maximum benefit for 2019 is $68,664. The owner must notify the county Tax Commissioner if for any reason they no longer meet the requirements for this exemption. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-47).

Individuals 62 years of age or over that are residents of each independent school district and of each county school district may claim an additional exemption from all ad valorem taxes for educational purposes and to retire school bond indebtedness if the income of that person and his 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. The social security maximum benefit for 2019 is $68,664. The owner must notify the county Tax Commissioner if for any reason they no longer meet the requirements for this exemption. This exemption may not exceed $10,000 of the homestead’s assessed value. (O.C.G.A. §48-5-52).

Veterans and their surviving spouses are also eligible for tax exemptions.  Any qualifying disabled veteran 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 determined according to an index rate set by United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The amount for 2019 is $85,645. The value of the property in excess of this exemption remains taxable. This exemption is extended to the un-remarried surviving spouse or minor children as long as they continue to occupy the home as a residence. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-48) Surviving Spouse of U.S. Service Member. The un-remarried surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces who was killed in or died as a result of any war or armed conflict will be granted a homestead exemption from all ad valorem taxes for county, municipal and school purposes in the amount of $60,000 plus an additional sum. The additional sum is determined according to an index rate set by the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The amount for 2019 is $85,645. The surviving spouse will continue to be eligible for the exemption as long as they do not remarry. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-52.1).

There are several other types of homestead exemptions. Please keep these in mind with the real estate that you reside in. You may want to call the Tax Assessor’s office and see what you qualify for. We all would like to save money and reduce our taxes. I hope this article assists you in doing so!

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Jess Barron is an Associate Broker with Lindseys, Inc. Realtors and President of the Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors.

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