It’s almost that time of year when we’re either dreading finding out what we owe in taxes or anxiously awaiting our tax refund. No matter which situation you fall under, we can all agree that we’re always looking for ways to save on tax dollars. Whether you’re able to claim multiple dependents, write off donations made to charity, or claim business expenses, it’s important to make sure every dollar counts, especially right after Christmas (am I right?)! But, there is one exemption that is often forgotten or unknown to many Georgia residents and that is the property tax exemption, also known as a homestead exemption.
So what exactly is Homestead Exemption for homeowners? As a homeowner, a homestead exemption gives you tax breaks on what you pay for in property taxes. Depending on the value of your property, a homestead exemption will legally excuse you from a certain amount of taxes that you owe on your property which can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.
There’s a lot of confusing information out there about homestead exemption because you must file with the county or city where your purchased home is located, and each county has different applications and required documents. But, you must meet a couple criteria before you are eligible:
- You must occupy the home
- The home must be your legal residence
Once you file a homestead application for your primary residence, you cannot file homestead exemption for any other property in Georgia or any other state. Although the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) states that you must file homestead exemption with your county tax commissioner or county board of tax assessors, some Georgia cities require you file with them if you live in city limits. We recommend calling your local tax commissioner’s office to double check before filing in person. In order to file you will need a few things (Ps: this list is not exhaustive; make sure to call the tax commissioner’s office to double check all that you need before making a trip):
- Valid driver’s license
- Copy of your vehicle registration showing residency in that county / city
- Property address
- And, if recently married a copy of your marriage license just to be on the safe side
Deadline to file is April 1st!
If you have not already applied for your homestead exemption, you can still do so, but you should hurry: the deadline for the application is April 1st, 2019! Some counties require you to apply for your exemption in person, but many more offer options that allow you to submit either online or by mail.