FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How is my property value determined?
Property tax is an ad valorem tax based upon the value of property, both real and personal. Real property is defined as land and generally anything that is erected, growing, or affixed to the land. Personal property is boats, airplanes, business inventory, and any equipment, furniture, and fixtures needed to run a business.
Property taxes are charged against the owner of the property of January 1st, and against the property itself if the owner is not known. Property tax returns are to be filed between January 1st and April 1st with the county tax assessor's office.
Fair Market Value
The Assessors are charged with establishing the fair market value of the taxable real and personal properties in Upson County. Fair market value means the amount a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for the property at an arm's length bona fide sale.
The Assessors use standard approaches in setting the value on all real and personal property. The three approaches to value are cost, market, and income.
Conservation Use Property is assessed at its current use value rather than the fair market value. Property that qualifies for this special assessment must be maintained in a current use for a period of ten years.
Preferential Agricultural Property is assessed at 75 percent of the assessment of other property. This means that this type of property is assessed at 30 percent of fair market value rather than 40 percent. Property that qualifies for this special assessment must be maintained in its current use for a period of ten years.
Residential Transitional Property is in an area that is in a transition from residential to commercial use, and it is affecting the value of the property. The owner may apply for a residential transitional assessment covenant. This is also a ten-year covenant.
Timber is not taxed until sold or harvested, at which time it is taxed based upon 100 percent of its fair market value. The three types of sales and harvests that are taxable are lump sum sales, unit price sales, and owner harvests.
Lump sum sales occur when the timber is sold at a specific price regardless of volume. Unit price sales occur when the timber is sold or harvested based on a specific price per volume. Owner harvests occur when a land owner harvest his own timber and sells it by volume.
Personal Property: Equipment, Machinery, and Fixtures are assessed at 40 percent of fair market value. The assessor may value the equipment, machinery, and fixtures of a going business to reflect the fair market value of the business as a whole. When no ready market exists for the sale of equipment, machinery, and fixtures, a fair market value may be determined by resorting to any reasonable, relevant, and useful information available. This information may include, but is not limited to, the original cost of the property, less any depreciation or obsolescence plus any increase in value by reason of inflation. Other determining factors include existing zoning of the property, existing use, existing covenants or restrictions in deed dedicating the property to a particular use, and any other important factors. The assessors have access to any public records in order to discover such information.
Homestead exemptions are allowed to qualified applicants who own the residence and live in it on January 1st. At age 62, a qualified homeowner may apply for the allowed exemption on the school portion of the tax bill, depending on income requirements. At age 65, a qualified homeowner may apply for additional exemption on the state and county portion of the tax bill, depending on income requirements. A Disabled Veteran exemption is allowed when the qualified homeowner has documentation declaring a total service-related disability by the Veterans Administration, and is receiving 100 percent disability benefits. A Surviving Spouse exemption is allowed to a qualified homeowner who is the unmarried spouse of a veteran deceased as a result of war or armed conflict, and is receiving survivor benefits. In Upson County, a Disabled Person exemption is allowed to a qualified homeowner who provides letters from two physicians stating total disability, and depending on income requirements.
Once you have applied for an exemption, you do not need to reapply unless you move to another location, or become eligible for increased exemptions.
Further information about all the exemptions on this page is available by contacting the Upson County Assessors Office. Mail: Post Office Box 508, Thomaston, Georgia 30286 Phone: 706-647-8176 Fax: 706-647-7818 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.upsoncountygeorgia.com
How can I appeal my assessment?
After you have given careful consideration to the value placed on your property and if you feel it is incorrect, your appeal should be based on taxability, uniformity, or value.
The Board of Equalization is an independent three-person board appointed by the Upson County Grand Jury. Its specific function is to hear unresolved appeals from property owners. After hearing both the assessors and the property owner's position, the Board of Equalization renders a decision on the valuation.
If either side disagrees with the decision of the Board of Equalization, the appeal may proceed anew to the next level of appeal, Upson County Superior Court.
How is the tax figured?
The millage rate for 2005 will be set around mid-October. The tax rate, or millage, is set annually by the Upson County Board of Commissioners, the Thomaston City Council, and the Board of Education. A tax rate of one mill represents a tax liability of $1 per $1,000 of assessed value.