What is a homestead?
A homestead, according to Georgia law, is the “real property owned by and in possession of the applicant on January 1 of the taxable year and upon which the applicant resides.” Therefore, a homestead is a person’s primary residence.
How Do I Get a Homestead Exemption in Georgia?
A homestead exemption is granted to those who apply and meet the following requirements:
1. A person must actually occupy the home, and the home is their legal residence for all purposes.
2. The owner must have been living in the home as of January 1 of the taxable year. That means that if you moved into your house on January 2, you will NOT be granted homestead exemption until the following year.
When Should Georgia Homestead Exemption be Filed?
The Georgia Homestead Exemption has to be applied for between January 1 and April.
What Homestead Exemptions are offered by the State of Georgia?
- Standard Homestead Exemption: A $2,000 exemption from county and school taxes. However, local municipalities can claim additional resources for schools and other debts. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-44)
- Individuals 65 Years of Age and Older: Individuals 65 years and older may claim a $4,000 exemption from all county ad valorem taxes if the income (not including retirement payments up to the social security maximum benefit) of that person and his spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year.(O.C.G.A. § 48-5-47)
- Individuals 62 Years of Age and Older: Individuals 62 years and older are exempted from all ad-valorem taxes for educational purposes. However, the income of that individual or couple cannot exceed $10,000 for the prior year. (O.C.G.A. §48-5-52)
- Disabled Veteran or Surviving Spouse: Any qualifying disabled veteran may be granted an exemption of $60,000 plus an additional sum from paying property taxes for the county, municipal, and school purposes. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-48)
- Surviving Spouse of U.S. Service Member: The un-remarried surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces who was killed in or died as a result of any war or armed conflict will be granted a homestead exemption from all ad valorem taxes for the county, municipal and school purposes in the amount of $60,000 plus an additional sum. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-52.1)
- Surviving Spouse of Peace Officer or Firefighter: The un-remarried surviving spouse of a peace officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty will be granted a homestead exemption for the full value of the homestead for as long as the applicant occupies the residence as a homestead. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-48.4).
- Floating Inflation-Proof Exemption: Individuals 62 years of age or over may obtain a floating inflation-proof county homestead exemption. If the appraised value of the home has increased by more than $10,000, the owner may benefit from this exemption. Income, together with a spouse or any other person residing in the house cannot exceed $30,000. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-47.1)
Homestead Applications are Filed with Your County Tax Officials (depending on your county, you will have to file with the tax assessors or the tax commissioner). For most counties, homestead exemptions may be filed online, through physical mail, or in-person.