302 N. Patterson Street, First Floor, Valdosta, GA. 31603 | P: (229) 671-2540 F: (229) 333-7606 | Office Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM M–F
© 2011 by The Lowndes County Board of Tax Assessors & qpublic.net
SPECIALIZED AND PREFERENTIAL ASSESSMENT PROGRAMS
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 occupied by the taxpayer as
his or her legal residence (some exceptions to this rule apply and your tax assessors office can explain them to
To receive the benefit of the homestead exemption, the taxpayer must file an initial application. In Lowndes 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
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 Commissioner's Office in Lowndes 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
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.Follow the hyper link below to see all available homestead exemptions or you may contact the Tax
Commissioner's office with any questions regarding homestead exemptions. Only one homestead exemption shall
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.
Owner must be an individual or family farm corporation, estate, trust or non-profit organization.
Owner agrees to maintain the property in a qualifying use of ''good faith'' production of agricultural products or
timber for 10 years.
Owner cannot have over 2,000 acres statewide in the Conservation Use Program.
The Tax Assessors Office may request additional information regarding the use of the property if the office feels it is
necessary to determine if the property qualifies for the exemption. Information that may be requested is Schedule F
(Profit or Loss from Farm Income), Form 4562 Depreciation, or Crop Production Records the owner maintains.
(mandatory on tracts less than 10 acres)
CONSERVATION USE VALUES
Conservation values are set by the State of Georgia and cannot be appealed by the taxpayer, however the Board of
Tax Assessors must still maintain the fair market value on the property which may still be appealed by the taxpayer.
The Conservation values established by the state are made up of a combination of the capitalized income that could
be produced from the land and market value. The ratio is 65% income and 35% fair market value.
The maximum amount that conservation values may be increased is 3% per year or a maximum of 34.39% over the
The amount of savings on your tax bill cannot be determined at this time. The valuation for conservation use is
available on your property upon request. You then can compare the fair market value to the conservation use value.
Agricultural buildings may be included in the covenant. Although, the current values will not change on the buildings,
these buildings would be subject only to the 3% per year maximum increase.
BREACH ON CONTRACT
If the owner breaks the Covenant a penalty of twice the taxes saved by the taxpayer will be imposed and interest at
the rate of 1% per month will be assessed if not immediately reported.
If the Covenant is broken as a result of death or eminent domain (condemnation) no penalty will be assessed.
If the Covenant is broken as a result of medically demonstrable illness or foreclosure, the penalty will be the amount
of taxes saved for the current year only.
Leases or contracts for billboard signs, cellular towers, or any type of non-qualifying use will breach the Covenant
and all penalties will apply. Hunting leases are allowed.
If the property is sold, and if the purchaser continues using the property as it was originally covenanted then no
penalty would be assessed. Purchaser must sign covenant agreeing to no change in use. However, the taxpayer
should be aware that if the use changes during the 10-year period all penalties would apply.
If the owner desires to omit a portion of a tract from the Covenant they must present to the Assessors' satisfaction a
clearly defined description of the portion under the Covenant and a clearly defined description of the portion not
under the Covenant.
The property owner may give up to 5.0 acres to a relative within the 4th degree of civil reckoning provided that
relative builds a house on the property received within one year and resides in the house for the remainder of the
Property is allowed to lie fallow or idle for up to 2 years within any 5-year period.
Property owners over age 65 who renew their Covenant may elect after 3 years into the second 10-year Covenant
to terminate the Covenant by filing in writing a declaration with the Tax Assessors' office.
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:
| BACK TO TOP |
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.
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.
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.
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: http://www.etax.dor.ga.gov/ptd/adm/taxguide/exempt/freeport.shtml
| BACK TO TOP |