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Buy a Home in 2018? Don't Forget to Apply for Your Homestead Exemption!

Tax Planning

Have you heard of the Homestead Exemption?  If you're a homeowner this is an easy way to save money on your annual property taxes.  The process is simple – you must own the home, occupy it as your legal residence, and file appropriate paperwork with the county in which you reside.  Depending on the county, applications may be filed with the Tax Commissioner's office or the Tax Assessor's office.    

In order for the exemption to be counted towards the current year's property tax bill, the application must be filed prior to April 1st.  Applications filed after the 1st will result in a loss of the exemption for that year.  In order to receive the homestead exemption for the current tax year, the homeowner must have owned the property on January 1.   

The state of Georgia offers homestead exemptions to all qualifying home owners.  Some counties have increased the amounts of their homestead exemptions to above the amounts offered by the State.  As a general rule, exemptions offered by the county are more beneficial to the homeowner than those offered by the state.

How much can you expect to save?  The exemption varies from county to county and additional exemptions are available to homeowners with special circumstances.  The basic homestead exemption, though, saved homeowners in Cobb County $256.60 in 2018.  In Fulton County, homeowners save about $600 annually on property taxes.  That number increases to as much as $1200 if the home is in the city of Atlanta.    

How is the savings calculated?  The amount of your exemption is subtracted from the assessed value of your property as determined by the county tax assessor.  The remaining amount is then multiplied by your property tax rate to arrive at the amount of your annual property taxes.  For example, a homeowner in Cobb County with an assessed value of $100,000 who applies for the basic homestead exemption of $10,000 would only pay property taxes on $90,000.  If that homeowner did not file for the exemption, he/she would pay property taxes based on the full assessed value of $100,000.   

Looking for information on the Homestead Exemption in your county?  Visit the links below.

County Exemption Information:  










*This blog was originally posted in January 2018 and has been updated to include new county links