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 taxpayer and occupied as his or her legal residence (some exceptions to this rule apply and your tax assessors office can explain them to you).
To receive the benefit of the homestead exemption, the taxpayer must file an initial application. In Upson County, the application is filed with the Tax Commissioners Office. The application must be filed between January 1 and March 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 exemption.
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 assessors office in Upson 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 state exemption.
HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FILING DATES ARE JANUARY 1st THROUGH MARCH 1st.
For Discount amount and Social Security and Retirement Pension exclusions contact the Tax Assessor’s Office.
L1 REGULAR HOMESTEADGives $10,000 off the county portion of assessed value. A property owner must own and reside at the property on January 1st. Surviving heirs qualify; also recorded sales contract-holders qualify. Must be the primary residence of the owner.
S5 DISABLED VETERAN OR SURVIVING SPOUSEGives a discounted amount off all portions of the assessed value. A property owner must provide documentation supporting declaration as being service-connected totally disabled by the Veterans Administration and as receiving 100% disability benefits. Also the un-remarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran qualifies. (Includes city)
SE SURVIVING SPOUSE OF U.S. MEMBERGives a discounted amount off all portions of assessed value. A property owner must be the un-remarried surviving spouse of a U.S. member killed in action. (Includes city)
SG SURVIVING SPOUSE OF FIREFIGHTER OR PEACE OFFICERGives 100% off all portions of assessed value. A property owner must be the un-remarried surviving spouse of firefighter or peace officer killed in the line of duty. (Includes city)
SD SURVIVING SPOUSE OF A VETERANGives a discounted amount off all portions of assessed value. A property owner must be the unmarried spouse of a Veteran deceased as a result of war or armed conflict, and is receiving survivor benefits. May be required to prove marital status. (Includes city)
L3 ELDERLY PERSON 62 YEARS OF AGE – Income RequiredGives $12,000 off the county portion of assessed value. Gives $15,000 off the school portion of assessed value. A property owner must be 62 years old as of January 1st. Net income of the husband and wife must be less than $15,000. Some Social Security and retirement pension amounts are excluded.
L4 ELDERLY PERSON 65 YEARS OF AGE – Income RequiredGives $14,000 off the county portion of assessed value. Gives $15,000 off the school portion of assessed value. A property owner must be 65 years old January 1st. Net income of the husband and wife must be less than $15,000, Some Social Security and retirement pension amounts are excluded.
L5 ELDERLY PERSON 62 YEARS OF AGEGives $12,000 off the county portion of the school portion of assessed value. A property owner must be 62 years old January 1st.
L6 ELDERLY PERSON 65 YEARS OF AGEGives $14,000 off the county portion of the school portion of the assessed value. A property owner must be 65 years old January 1st.
L7 REGULAR DISABLED PERSONSGives $20,000 off the county portion of assessed value. A property owner must have a letter from their physician stating total disability. Adjusted gross household income must be less than $10,000.
L8 ELDERLY DISABLED PERSON 62 TO 64 YEARS OF AGEGives $22,000 off the county portion and $15,000 off of the school portion of assessed value. A property owner must have a letter from their physician stating total disability. Adjusted gross household income must be less than $10,000.
L9 ELDERLY DISABLED PERSON 65 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDERGives $24,000 off the county portion and $15,000 off the school portion of assessed value. A property owner must have a letter from their physician stating total disability. Adjusted gross household income must be less than $10,000.
With respect to all of the homestead exemptions, the board of tax assessors makes the final determination as to eligibility. If the homestead application is denied, the taxpayer must be notified and an appeal procedure then is available to the taxpayer. For more information: http://www.etax.dor.ga.gov/ptd/adm/taxguide/exempt/homestead.shtml
HOMEOWNERS TAX RELIEF GRANT
The Homeowners Tax Relief Grant was authorized for the first time by the Governor and the General Assembly in 1999. In any year the General Assembly may appropriate funds for a tax relief credit and shall specify the eligible assessed value of each qualified homestead receiving one of the normal homestead exemptions. This tax relief is shown on the property tax bill as a credit against taxes that otherwise would have been due.
Tax Commissioner Note: This grant will be solely from the legislature each year and is dependent upon future state funds being available. Should state funds not be available to grant this credit, your taxes will increase as the county and the county school system is reimbursed each year from the state by the amount of the credits granted on your tax bill. If state funds should not be available for disbursement, your tax bill will increase with no fault of the Tax Commissioner, the county or county school system. For more information: http://www.etax.dor.ga.gov/ptd/cds/htrc/plan.shtml
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 $25.00 recording fee for each application, all check must be made payable to the Upson County Clerk of Superior Court.
CONSERVATION USE VALUES
BREACH ON CONTRACT
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: http://www.etax.dor.ga.gov/ptd/cas/cuse/index.shtml
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.
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