There are a number of exemptions that you may be eligible for. These include:
Freeport Exemptions are exemptions for companies that have certain qualifying business inventories. This exemption must be applied for each year and is filed along with the company's Personal Property Tax Return. The application must be received by the Board of Assessor's Office by April 1 to quality for 100% of the exemption. However, you may receive a partial exemption for late filing. The amount of the exemption is as follows: April 2 - April 30 (66.67%), May 1 - May 31 (58.33%), June 1 (50%). Failure to file by June 1 will constitute a waiver of the entire exemption for the year. All applications sent by the U.S. Postal Service must be postmarked by the above dates.
Homestead Exemptions are value exemptions that are subtracted from your personal residence's assessed value. The exemption lowers your property tax bill. To qualify for a homestead exemption, you must own and be occupying your personal residence as of January 1. By state law, your homestead becomes your legal residence for all purposes in the state of Georgia, including vehicle registration and voting. You may qualify for only one homestead exemption in the state. You must apply for the exemption in person at the Board of Assessors Office by April 1 of the applicable tax year. You only need to apply once for the exemption. If your situation changes and you qualify for a different exemption, you will need to return to the Assessors Office to apply for the new exemption.
In Rockdale County, there are a combination of state and local exemptions. Each has a different set of qualifying requirements. First is the regular homestead. This homestead gives you a $2,000 exemption off your state assessment; a $15,000 exemption off of your county operations assessment; and $15,000 off your school operations assessment. If you are between the ages of 62 and 65 years old and your total household NET income from all sources is less than $10,000, you may also receive a $10,000 exemption off your school bond assessment. Once you have turned 65 years old or if you become permanently and totally disabled, you may receive a $2,000 state exemption; a $15,000 county operations exemption; a $35,000 school operations exemption; and a $35,000 school bond exemption. Or, if you are 65 years old and the total NET income of you and your spouse is less than $10,000, you may qualify for a 100% exemption off your state assessment and a $4,000 exemption off your county bond assessment. Social Security benefits and certain retirement benefits up to a maximum of $55,742 are excluded from the NET income total. All age-based exemptions are determined by the age you are on January 1. If you are a disabled veteran or an unremarried surviving spouse of a veteran killed in action and meet certain requirements found in the law, you may qualify for a $50,000 exemption that is deducted from the state, county operations and bonds, as well as from school operations and bond assessments.
There is a final set of homestead exemptions called the Floating or Variable Homestead Exemptions. These exemptions are similar to those mentioned above in which you have to be 62 years old or older to qualify. However, in addition to meeting all of those age and income requirements, your Adjusted Gross Income cannot exceed $30,000. If you meet all of these requirements, you may give up your state and county exemptions and change them to a variable exemption. Your new exemption will become the difference between your existing home value and any subsequent revaluations. Value increases due to home improvements or additions do not qualify for the exemption, only value increases due to general price increases in the housing market qualify. Since, however, this exemption replaces any other state or county exemption already in place for the property, taxpayers should be very careful in making application for this exemption since in many cases your tax bill will actually increase until there has been a substantial rise in your home's value. Once you have qualified for a homestead exemption, the Governor and the General Assembly in 1999 authorized an additional savings for homeowners in the form of a tax credit on your property tax bill. Known as the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant, the state is currently funding a homestead tax credit. The credit cannot by law exceed the amount of taxes due.
In addition to the above mentioned homestead exemptions, Rockdale County has a Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) Exemption. HOST is a voter-approved penny sales tax that is exempt from groceries. Rockdale County's HOST will remain in place permanently unless another referendum is held and voters choose to remove it.
The HOST enables the Rockdale Board of Commissioners to eliminate the County Operation & Maintenance (O&M) portion of residential tax bills by increasing the homestead exemption up to 100%. (HOST does not impact school, city or state taxes.)
This exemption applies to your primary residence and a maximum of five acres.
Special or Covenant Assessment Programs
In Georgia, there are several special assessment convenants available for restricted or special use property. The property must be maintained in its particular qualifying use for ten years. Breaking a covenant during the ten year period will cause a significant tax penalty to be assessed against the property. There are two types of covenants. One is the Preferential Use Covenant and authorizes assessments to be made at 30% of the property's fair market value instead of the normal 40% assessment. The other is a Conservation Use Covenant which provides that certain agriculture, timber, environmentally sensitive, residential transitional, or historical property be valued at its current use value rather than at its actual fair market value. Applications for these covenants must be filed by April 1. Contact the Board of Assessors Office for a complete explanation of all the requirements and restrictions.
Church, Charity and School Exemption
For more information, please contact the Board of Assessors Office.