WHY HOME OWNERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION
Being aware of programs that can benefit you financially, is key. As a home owner, the Homestead Exemption is a way for you to save on your tax bill.
WHAT IS THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION?
The homestead exemption also allows you to save on property taxes by allowing you to exclude a portion of your home's value from assessment. The amount of tax you owe is calculated based on the difference between your home's value and the exemption amount.
HOW DOES THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION HELP THE HOME OWNER SAVE MONEY?
If you purchased a your primary residence in 2017, you can now apply for the Homestead Exemption. Georgia law provides that every homeowner is eligible to claim a Homestead Exemption for a primary residence owned on January 1, 2018. This property tax benefit can amount to considerable annual savings for you. You will need to file between Jan 1-April 1, 2018 to take effect for your 2017 tax bill. For example, if your home is valued at $350,000 and your state allows a homestead exemption of $35,000, you would only pay taxes on the remaining $315,000. You could potentially shave hundreds/thousands of dollars off your tax bill each year.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO FILE?
- NAME OF HOME OWNER
- ADDRESS OF PROPERTY
- PARCEL ID#
WHO CAN FILE?
According to, https://dor.georgia.gov/property-tax-exemptions, “The State of Georgia offers homestead exemptions to all qualifying homeowners. In some counties they have increased the amounts of their homestead exemptions by local legislation above the amounts offered by the State. As a general rule, the exemptions offered by the county are more beneficial to the homeowner.”
Here are some examples that apply to Georgia for your reference:
Individuals 65 Years of Age and Older May Claim a $4,000 Exemption
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 2017 is $64,488. 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 and Older May Claim Additional Exemption for Educational Purposes
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 2017 is $64,488. 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)
Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veteran or Surviving Spouse
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 2017 is $77,307.The value of the property in excess of this exemption remains taxable. This exemption is extended to the unremarried surviving spouse or minor children as long as they continue to occupy the home as a residence. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-48)
Homestead Exemption for Surviving Spouse of U.S. Service Member
The unremarried 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 United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The amount for 2017 is $77,307. 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)
Homestead Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Peace Officer or Firefighter
The unremarried surviving spouse of a peace officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty will be granted a homestead exemption for the full value of the homestead for as long as the applicant occupies the residence as a homestead. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-48.4)
WHERE CAN YOU GO TO FILE?
To gain a better understanding of where you can go to file for the Homestead Exemption, you can start by visiting https://dor.georgia.gov/property-tax-exemptions. If you are outside of the state of Georgia, you can Google “Homestead Exemptions in your county and state.”
These are examples of where you can go by county in Georgia:
Taking the opportunity to understand the Homestead Exemption and how it can be applied to your personal financial strategy is an important aspect of being a home owner. For additional questions about how you can leverage this resource, contact Wellington Real Estate Professionals.