Several types of homestead exemptions have been enacted to reduce the burden of ad valorem taxation for Georgia homeowners. The exemptions apply to homestead property owned by the taxpayer and occupied as his or her legal residence (some exceptions to this rule apply and your tax commissioner can explain them to you).
The telephone number is: 706-653-4211. To receive the benefit of the homestead exemption, the taxpayer must file an initial application. In Muscogee County the application is filed with the Property Tax Office. Homestead exemption applications are accepted year-round. Current year exemptions must be applied for by April 1st. Applicant must be owner as of 1 January of year applying for to be eligible for current year. Applications received after April 1st will be processed for the following year. Bring a copy of the recorded warranty deed, proof of occupancy and proof of Georgia Residency.
Once granted, the homestead exemption is automatically renewed each year unless the owner moves, there is a change of ownership, or the taxpayer seeks to qualify for a different kind of exemption.
Different Types of Homestead Exemptions
Under 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 in your county can answer questions regarding the standard exemptions as well as any local exemptions that are in place.
- The Standard Homestead Exemption is available to all homeowners who otherwise qualify by ownership and residency requirements and it is an amount equal to $2,000 on the State portion and $13,500 off assessment on local value which is deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property. The homestead exemption freezes the assessment on the property. The exemption applies to the maintenance and operation portion of the mill rate levy of the county and the county school system and the State mill rate levy. It does not apply to the portion of the mill rate levied to retire bonded indebtedness.
- The Standard Elderly School Tax Homestead Exemption is an increased homestead exemption for homeowners 62 and older where the gross-income from all family members residing in the homestead does not exceed $10,000 for the preceding year. This exemption applies only to school tax but it does include taxes levied to retire bonded indebtedness. The amount of the exemption is up to $13,969 deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property.
- The Standard Elderly General Homestead Exemption is available to homeowners who otherwise qualify and who are 65 and older where the net income of the applicant and spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the preceding year. Social Security income and retirement income are calculated in a different category. This amount varies yearly. Please call the Tax Commissioner's Office Property Tax section to verify amount. This exemption, which is in an amount up to $4,000 deducted from the State and $21,500 off the 40% assessed value of the homestead property applies to county taxes, school taxes, and the state tax and it does apply to taxes levied to retire bonded indebtedness.
- The Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption is available to a qualified disabled veteran in an amount up to $32,500 (or the maximum amount which may be granted to a disabled veteran under section 2102 of Title 38 of the United States Code, as amended in O.C.G.A. §48-5-48) deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property. This exemption applies to all ad valorem tax levies; however, it is restricted to certain types of very serious disabilities and proof of disability, either from the Veterans Administration or from a private physician in certain circumstances. Disability must be 100%.
- The Floating or Varying Homestead Exemption is an exemption which is available to homeowners 62 or older with gross household incomes of $30,000 or less. The exemption applies to state and county ad valorem taxes but it does not apply to school tax. The exemption is called a floating exemption because the amount of the exemption increases as the value of the homestead property is increased. Since, however, the exemption replaces any other state and county exemption already in place for the property, taxpayers should be very careful in making application since in many instances the granting of this exemption will initially at least increase the amount of levied on the property.
In addition to the various homestead exemptions that are authorized, the law also provides a Property Tax Deferral Program whereby qualified homestead property owners 62 and older with gross household income of $15,000 or less may defer but not exempt the payment of ad valorem taxes on a part of 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.Freeport Exemption
Muscogee County voters have elected to Exempt certain types of Manufacturers Inventory pursuant to Code Section 48-5-48.2. Available exemptions are listed as follows:
- Class 1 - Raw materials and goods in process of a qualified manufacturer - 100% exemption.
- Class 2 - Finished goods produced in Georgia within the last 12 months - 100% exemption
- Class 3 - Finished goods stored in Georgia at January 1 and destined for shipment out-of-state within 12 months - 100% exemption.