Georgia

Property Tax Relief for Seniors and Veterans with Disabilities

Authored By: Elder Law Committee of State Bar of Georgia

Information

GEORGIA PROPERTY TAX RELIEF FOR SENIORS AND DISABLED VETERANS AND SURVIVNG SPOUSES

Georgia law provides the property tax and school tax benefits to senior citizens and veterans with disabilities described below. Please be aware that the following gives only a general description of the Georgia tax benefits. Your situation may be different enough so that the general rules will not apply.

Property Tax Benefits

1. Complete Exemption

A homeowner who is age 62 or older and whose family income does not exceed $30,000 for the preceding year, may be eligible for a complete exemption from state and county property taxes on the value of the property that exceeds the value assessed in the year before the application for this exemption (the base year). The homeowner would have to pay only the taxes on the portion of the value of the property that is the same as the value in the base year. This exemption does not apply to school taxes or bond indebtedness.

The homeowner must apply for this exemption by March 1 of the first year for which the exemption applies. If he or she continues to live in the same home, he or she does not have to apply again. Instead, the exemption will be renewed automatically every year after the year in which he or she first applies. However, the homeowner must notify his or her county if he or she becomes ineligible for the complete exemption for any reason.

2. Double Homestead Exemption

Every homeowner who lives in the home and applies will receive a "homestead exemption," which exempts up to $2,000 of the assessed value of his or her home from state and county property taxes. An older homeowner who applies may receive the double homestead exemption. This exempts up to $4,000 of the assessed value of the home from state and county property taxes. To be eligible for the double homestead exemption:

a. The homeowner must be age 65 or older.

b. He or she must be living in the home to which the exemption applies on January 1 of the year for which the exemption applies.

c. The homeowner's net income, or the combined net income of the homeowner and his or her spouse, must not be greater than $10,000 for the preceding year. Net income does not include Social Security benefits or a pension (unless the pension is more than the maximum that a person could receive from Social Security).

d. The homeowner must apply for the double homestead exemption by March 1 of the first year for which the exemption applies. If the homeowner continues to live in the same home, he or she does not have to apply again. Instead, the exemption will be renewed automatically every year after the year in which he or she first applies. However, the homeowner must notify his or her county if he or she becomes ineligible for the double homestead exemption for any reason.

3. Homestead Exemptions for Qualified Disabled Veterans and Surviving Spouses

a. A qualified disabled veteran is granted an exemption of the greater of $50,000.00 or the maximum amount allowed under federal law on the value of his or her home. This covers all ad valorem tax for state, county, municipal and school purposes. It also may apply to a surviving spouse who has not remarried or their children under 18. Taxes must still be paid on property with a value that exceeds the exempted amount.

b.The surviving spouse of a member of the armed services who has not remarried and whose spouse died as a result of war or armed conflict may be eligible for an exemption of $43,000 or the maximum amount allowed under federal law on the value of his or her home. This covers all ad valorem tax for state, county, municipal and school purposes. Taxes must still be paid on property with a value that exceeds the exempted amount. This exemption renews automatically, but proof of continued eligibility may be required.

4. Property Tax Deferral

An older homeowner who is entitled to the homestead exemption may be eligible to defer payment of his or her state and county property taxes. The eligible homeowner may elect to defer payment of all or part of the taxes on up to $50,000 of the home's assessed value. As another option, if the homeowner lives in a county with a population of 550,000 or more, he or she may elect to defer payment of all or part of the taxes that are greater than 4% of his or her gross income during the year before the year for which the exemption applies.

To be eligible for property tax deferral:

a. The homeowner must be age 62 or older.

b. He or she must own and be living in the home to which the exemption applies.

c. In the case of a homeowner who elects to defer taxes on up to $50,000 of the home's assessed value, the total income of all
people living in the home during the preceding year must not be more than $15,000.

d. The total amount of taxes deferred plus interest and any other liens on the home must not be greater than 85% of the fair market value.

e. The homeowner must maintain insurance on the property to protect against loss by fire or other hazards.

f. The homeowner must file an annual application by April 1 of the year for which the exemption applies.

The interest rate on the deferred taxes will be 3/4% per month. Each year the homeowner will receive a notice giving the total amount of deferred taxes and interest owed. If the homeowner moves or otherwise stops being entitled to a homestead exemption, the total amount of deferred taxes and interest owed will become due. However, if the homeowner dies and his or her spouse becomes eligible for the homestead exemption, the spouse does not have to pay the deferred taxes and interest owed at that time.

School Tax Benefits

Up to $10,000 of the assessed value of the home of an older homeowner will be exempt from school taxes if:

1. The homeowner is age 62 or older and lives in the home.

2. The net income of the homeowner and his or her spouse is not greater than $10,000 per year. Net income does not include Social Security benefits or a pension (unless the pension is more than the maximum that a person could receive from Social Security).

3. The homeowner applies for the school tax exemption by March 1 of the year for which the exemption will apply.

4. The homeowner must file an affidavit with the city or county. Once the exemption is approved, it is automatically renewed. However, it is the homeowner's responsibility to give notice if he or she no longer is entitled to the exemption.


Elder Law Committee of State Bar of Georgia
Last Revised: February 2005