Exemptions

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS
SPECIALIZED AND PREFERENTIAL ASSESSMENT PROGRAMS
FREEPORT EXEMPTION
APPEALS

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS

Several types of homestead exemptions have been enacted to reduce the burden of ad valorem taxation for Georgia homeowners. These exemptions apply to homestead property owned by and taxpayer and occupied as his or her legal residence (some exceptions to this rule apply and your tax assessors office can explain them to you).

To receive the benefit of the homestead exemption, the taxpayer must file an initial application. In Jasper County, the application is filed with the Tax Commissioners Office. The application must be filed between January 1 and April 1 of the year for which the exemption is first claimed by the taxpayer. The homestead application is normally filed at the same time the initial tax return for the homestead property is filed.

Once granted, the homestead exemption is automatically renewed each year. The taxpayer does not have to apply again unless there is a change in ownership of property or the taxpayer seeks to qualify for a different kind of exemption.

Under the 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 assessors office in Jasper 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.

Once homestead is granted you do not have to apply again unless there is a change of ownership including a Deed of Trust, name or spelling correction on the Deed, or if you seek to qualify for a different type of exemption which would follow regular homestead. Refinancing your property will not affect your exemption; however if you are adding or deleting a name to the vesting deed, you will need to refile for your homestead.

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FILING DATES ARE JANUARY 1st THROUGH April 1st.

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.

In addition to the various homestead exemptions that are authorized, the law provides a Property Tax Deferral Program whereby qualified homestead property owners 62 and older with a gross income of $15,000 or less may defer but not exempt the payment of ad valorem taxes on 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. If the homestead application is denied, the taxpayer must be notified and an appeal procedure then is available to the taxpayer. For more information: Click Here
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SPECIALIZED AND PREFERENTIAL ASSESSMENT PROGRAMS

Two general types of specialized of preferential assessment programs are available for certain owners of certain types of property. One of these programs authorizes assessment at 30% instead of 40% of the fair market value for certain agricultural properties being used for bona fide agricultural purposes.

The second type of preferential program is the Conservation Use program which provides that certain agricultural property, timber and land property, environmentally sensitive property, or residential transitional property is to be valued and assessed for ad valorem tax purposes at its current use value rather than its fair market value. For more information on Conservation Use we have included the following Information.

WHAT IS CONSERVATION USE?

Conservation Use was approved by an overwhelming majority of Georgia voters in an effort to encourage agricultural landowners to keep their land in production in exchange for favorable tax treatment. This favorable tax treatment is designed to protect these property owners from being pressured by the property tax burden to convert their land from agricultural use to residential or commercial use, hence the name ''conservation use'' assessment. In return for the favorable tax treatment the property owner must keep the land undeveloped in a qualifying use for a period of ten years on incur stiff penalties.

Applications for current use assessment must be filed with the county board of tax assessors on or before the last day for filing ad valorem tax returns in the county (April 1). A $10.00 recording fee must accompany all applications.

QUALIFICATIONS

CONSERVATION USE VALUES

BREACH ON CONTRACT

OTHER FACTS

Each of these specialized or preferential programs requires the property owner to covenant with the board of tax assessors to maintain the property in its qualified use for at least 10 years in order to qualify for the preference. The Board of Tax Assessors can explain the ownership and use restrictions regarding property qualifying for either of these programs. Substantial penalties result if the covenant is broken. Additional information is available at: http://dor.georgia.gov/
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FREEPORT EXEMPTION

The governing authority of any county or municipality may, subject to the approval of the electors of such political subdivision, except from ad valorem taxation, including all such taxes levied for educational purposes and for State purposes, all or any of the following types of tangible property. Application for this exemption must be made each year by April 1 in order to receive the maximum exemption on qualifying Inventory.

  1. Inventory of goods in the process of manufacture or production, which shall include all partly finished goods and raw materials, held for direct use or consumption in the ordinary course of the taxpayer's manufacturing or production business in the State of Georgia.
  2. Inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced within the State of Georgia in the ordinary course of the taxpayer's manufacturing or production business when held by the original manufacturer or producer of such finished goods. The exemption provided for herein shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is produced or manufactured.
  3. Inventory of finished goods which, on the first day of January, are stored in a warehouse, dock or wharf, whether public or private, and which are destined for shipment to a final destination outside the State of Georgia and inventory of finished goods which are shipped into the State of Georgia from outside the State and stored for transshipment to a final destination outside this State. The exemption provided for herein shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is stored in this State.

For further details on Freeport exemption, read O.C.G.A. 48-5-48.2 in its entirety or contact the Tax Assessors office. Also use the following link: Click Here
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ASSESSMENT APPEALS

When the Board of Tax Assessors changes the value of property from the value in place for the preceding year or from the value that was returned by the taxpayer for the current year, a notice of change must be sent to the property owner. Upon receipt of this notice, the property owner desiring to appeal the change in value must do so within 45 days of the date of the notice. The appeal is filed with the Board of Tax Assessors, which reviews the appeal filed and informs the taxpayer of its decision. If the Board of Tax Assessors makes no changes, the appeal is automatically forwarded to the County Board of Equalization. A hearing is scheduled, conducted and the Board of Equalization renders its decision. If the taxpayer is still dissatisfied with the decision, an appeal to Superior Court may be made.

In lieu of an administrative appeal with the Board of Equalization, an arbitration method of appeal is also available to the taxpayer. The Board of Tax Assessors can provide details regarding this procedure.

The assessment appeal may be made on the basis of taxability of the property, the value placed upon the property, or the uniformity of that value when compared to other similar properties in the county. The appeal must be filed within the applicable time period and cannot be filed after that time. Additionally, the appeal should not be based on any complaint regarding the amount of taxes levied on the property.
For more information on the Appeals Process please go to:
https://dor.georgia.gov/property-tax-appeals

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