What is Homestead Exemption ?

7 Feb

Hello to all of you homeowners out there! Don’t forget it’s time to file homestead exemption if you have not already.

The Georgia Department of Revenue  specifies that 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. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-40)

To be granted a homestead exemption, a person must actually occupy the home, and the home is considered their legal residence for all purposes.  Persons that are away from their home because of health reasons will not be denied homestead exemption.  A family member or friend can notify the tax receiver or tax commissioner and the homestead exemption will be granted. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-40)

Application for homestead exemption must be filed with the tax commissioner’s office, or in some counties the tax assessor’s office has been delegated to receive applications for homestead exemption. Here in Chatham County, you can just go down to the Courthouse on Montgomery Street. You should take identification with you as well as a utility bill with your name on it.

A homeowner can file an application for homestead exemption for their home and land any time during the calendar year. To receive the homestead exemption for the current tax year, the homeowner must have owned the property on January 1 and filed the homestead application by the same date property tax returns are due in the county. Property tax returns are required to be filed by April 1. Homestead applications that are filed after this date will not be granted until the next calendar year. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-45)

The Standard exemption for 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 state, 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.

If you are 65 or older, disabled, or a service member you may be eligible for a greater exemption.

So save yourself some money and file!

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