How About a Homestead Exemption?

A Homestead Exemption helps you save on taxes on your primary residence. Basically, an exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and lowers your income taxes.

In most counties in Georgia, you are generally eligible to a Homestead Exemption and its land if you have owned and occupied the property as of January 1st of the same year. April 1st is the deadline for all counties in Georgia.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if my realtors, or accountant…or anyone had told me about Homestead Exemption, ever. Not a single advisor in all the years of using them and owning homes in Georgia has ever counseled me to apply for a Homestead Exemption. Yet it was one of the first pieces of information that my team at Marshall Berch & Associates shared – in the month of November – and also sent to all of their clients at that time. Needless to say, I’m in the process of filing mine and I want to make sure you know about it too.

Here’s an example* of how Homestead Exemption works:

If your home is valued at $100,000 and you qualify for a $20,000 exemption, you pay taxes on your home as if it was worth $80,000

*Example is for demonstration purposes only and is not a guaranteed exemption amount; exemption amount is based on the assessed value of your property.

To be granted a Homestead Exemption, a person must occupy the home and the home is considered their legal residence for all purposes. People away from their home because of health reasons will not be denied homestead exemption: a 3rd party can notify the tax commissioner for the Homestead Exemption to be granted. Failure to apply by the deadline will result in loss of the exemption for that year.

Homeowners may need to provide the following information:

+ Warranty Deed book and page

+ Proof of residence

+ Social security number

+ Driver’s license

+ Car tag information

The State of Georgia offers Homestead Exemptions to all qualifying homeowners. Good news is that Homestead Exemption amounts have increased by some local legislation above the amounts offered by the State. In fact as a general rule, exemptions offered by the county are more beneficial to the homeowner. You can access the State of Georgia’s Homestead Exemption application here.

Links to some more Homestead Exemption information:

Fulton County

DeKalb County

City of Decatur

Four weeks is plenty of time to apply for your Homestead Exemption. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Remember the April 1 deadline and get crackin!

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