Peach County homeowners are entitled to a Homestead Exemption on the property they own and occupy as a permanent residence on January 1 of the taxable year. In addition, senior citizens and certain businesses are eligible for other tax exemptions. All exemptions are designed to reduce the amount of property taxes you are required to pay.
The Homestead Exemption is deducted from the assessed (40 percent) value of the property for county and school tax purposes, except bonded indebtedness. The state taxing authority also allows an exemption. The value of the property in excess of the exempted amount is subject to all taxes.
Application for homestead exemption must be made between April 2nd of the preceding year and April 1st of the year in which the exemption is sought. Once applied for and granted, the exemption shall automatically be renewed from year to year, as long as the applicant continuously occupies the residence as a homestead and the eligibility conditions still apply. However, a new homestead exemption application must be made if the taxpayer bought a new home, had any type of deed change during the year, or is eligible for a larger exemption.
Applications for homestead exemption may be mailed to or made in the Tax Assessor's Office, 205 West Church St. Suite 221, Fort Valley, Ga. 31030.
The following are exemptions available in Peach County if you meet the requirements:
Standard Homestead Exemption
The home of each resident of Georgia that is actually occupied and used as the primary residence by the owner may be granted a $2,000 exemption from state, county and school taxes except for school taxes levied by municipalities and except to pay interest on and to retire bonded indebtedness. The $2,000 is deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead. The owner of a dwelling house of a farm that is granted a homestead exemption may also claim a homestead exemption in participation with the program of rural housing under contract with the local housing authority. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-44)
Individuals 65 Years of Age and Older May Claim a $4,000 Exemption
Individuals 65 years of age or over may claim a $4,000 exemption from all state and county ad valorem taxes if the income of that person and his spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year. Income from retirement sources, pensions, and disability income is excluded up to the maximum amount allowed to be paid to an individual and his spouse under the federal Social Security Act. The social security maximum benefits for 2016 is $63,336. The owner must notify the county Tax Assessor's office if for any reason they no longer meet the requirements for this exemption. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-47)
Individuals 62 and Older Additional May Claim Exemption for Educational Purposes
Individuals 62 years of age or over that are residents of each independent school district and of each county school district may claim an additional exemption from all ad valorem taxes for educational purposes and to retire school bond indebtedness if the income of that person and his spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year. Income from retirement sources, pensions, and disability income is excluded up to the maximum amount allowed to be paid to an individual and his spouse under the federal Social Security Act. The social security maximum benefits for 2016 is $63,336. The owner must notify the county Tax Assessor's office if for any reason they no longer meet the requirements for this exemption. This exemption may not exceed $10,000 of the homestead's assessed value. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-52)
Floating Inflation-Proof Exemption
Individuals 62 years of age or over may obtain a floating inflation-proof state and county homestead exemption, except for taxes to pay interest on and to retire bonded indebtedness, based on natural increases in the homestead's value. If the appraised value of the home has increased by more than $10,000, the owner may benefit from this exemption. Income, together with spouse or any other person residing in the house, can not exceed $30,000. This exemption does not affect any municipal or educational taxes and is meant to be used in the place of any other state and county homestead exemption. Be careful - this exemption could actually result in a tax increase. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-47.1)
Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veterans
Any qualifying disabled veteran may be granted an exemption of $73,768 from paying property taxes for state, county, municipal, and school purposes. The value of the property in excess of this exemption remains taxable. This exemption is extended to the not remarried surviving spouse or minor children. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-48)
Homestead Exemption for Not Remarried Surviving Spouse
The surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces who was killed in any war or armed conflict will be granted a homestead exemption from all ad valorem taxes for state, county, municipal and school purposes in the amount of $73,768. The surviving spouse will continue to be eligible for the exemption as long as they do not remarry. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-52.1)
Application for Homestead Exemptions are taken at the Tax Assessor's office in Fort Valley. According to which exemption applying for, you might need the following:
- Proof of age
- Warranty Deed
- Income Statements (Copy of Georgia and Federal income tax returns)
- Physician Affidavits
- Retirement or disability records
You should also be aware:
- You must apply no later than April 1st of that year to receive a tax benefit the same year
- Any change to deed, for example refinancing, will necessitate a new application
- Income changes must be updated
Peach County voters have elected to exempt the following types of commercial and industrial inventory from property taxes at the rate shown below:
- Class 1: Raw materials and goods in process of manufacture - 100 percent exemption
- Class 2: Finished goods produced in Georgia within the last 12 months - 100 percent exemption
- Class 3: Finished goods stored in Georgia within the last 12 months and destined for shipment out-of-state - 100 percent exemption
The deadline for filing an application for freeport exemption with the Board of Tax Assessors is April 1 to receive the full exemption.