Thursday, June 25, 2009

All About Georgia Property Taxes: Part 1

If you are a Georgia homeowner, especially a first-time home owner, you may be curious to learn more about the property taxes you're required to pay. In this first part, I'll explain some general information about Georgia property taxes, how the valuation and assessment process works and what a millage rate is.

To begin with, all Georgia property is subject to paying property taxes, called "ad valorem" taxes which means a tax based on the value of the property. The ad valorem tax is based upon the value of both the house (the improvements) and the lot on which the home sits. However, your personal property, such as your furniture and other possessions, are not included in this valuation.

The Board of Assessors in the county in which the home lies is responsible for valuing and assessing the property. The Board has a few appraisers which they use to determine the value of the property based upon market analysis, comparable sales and other criteria. Your Georgia property taxes are assessed at "fair market value," in other words, the price that a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and that a willing seller would accept.

After the property has been assessed and a value is determined, the Board of Tax Assessors reaches an assessed value by taking 40% of the appraised value. To reach the amount that appears on your tax bill, the assessed value is multiplied by the millage rate for the tax district in which the property lies.

The Latin word "mille" which means "thousand" is where the term "millage" rate originates. So in the property tax context, the millage rate is the amount of tax due on every thousand dollars worth of property. This rate is set based on the budget requirements of the different units of government which depend on the taxes. Usually this includes the county government, school system, the cities within each county and the state government.

The millage rate is determined after the annual budget is set; once that happens, the Board of Assessors looks at the total value of all the property in the county, they then reduce the value by 40% to reach the assessed value. Next, through long division, they reach the millage rate necessary to bring in tax revenues necessary to cover the budget.

I hope that this information has helped you understand a little more about Georgia property taxes. Stay tuned for Part 2 where I'll cover the Georgia Homestead Exemption and how to appeal your tax assessment.

Please click this link if you would like to see the current millage rate for each county and city in Georgia: Millage Rates.
It's a great time to buy a home in Georgia, whether you're a first-time home buyer or not, and I would love to walk you through this process. If you are in the market to buy or sell your home in the Bethlehem or Dacula area, I would be happy to assist you! My passion is helping people find their dream home and stepping them through this exciting journey. I serve the Walton, Barrow and Gwinnett county areas. Call or text me today: 404.357.2231!

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