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Homestead Exemption

  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 Division in the Tax Commissioner's 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 off the state portion and $13,500 off assessment of 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 set by the county and the school board and the state mill rate levy. It does not apply to the portion of the mill rate levied to retire bond indebtedness.

  • The Standard Elderly School Tax Homestead Exemption is an increased homestead exemption for homeowners 62 and older where the net income does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year. (If gross income is less than $6,000 all school taxes are exempt). Social Security and retirement income are calculated in a different category. This amount varies yearly. The maximum for 2018 is $66,912. This exemption applies only to school tax, but it does include taxes levied to retire bond indebtedness.The amount of the exemption cannot exceed $13,500, which is 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 prior year. Social Security income and retirement income are calculated in a different category. This amount varies yearly. The amount for 2018 is $66,912. 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 bond indebtedness.

  • The Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption is available to certain disabled veterans in an amount up to $60,000 deducted on the State portion and $85,645 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 serious disabilities, requiring proof of disability from the Veterans Administration or from a private physician in certain circumstances. Disability must be 100%.

  • The Unremarried Surviving Spouse Exemption is available to the unremarried surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces who was killed in any war or armed conflict in which the United States was engaged (documentation from Secretary of Defense is required) in an amount up to $60,000.

  • The Unremarried Surviving Spouse of a Fire Fighter or Peace Officer shall be granted total exemption from all ad valorem taxes levied, if such person's spouse, who as a member-of a qualified Fire Department or Peace Officer Agency, was killed or died as a result of injury in the performance of their duty. Documents from the agency must be provided.

  • 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. However, this exemption replaces any other state and county exemption already in place for the property, and taxpayers should be very careful in making application, since in many instances the granting of this exemption will initially increase the amount of taxes 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 or all of the homestead property.

Generally the tax would be deferred until the property ownership changes or until such time as 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.