The Tax Commissioner is responsible for the billing and collection of ad valorem taxes. These taxes include real property, personal property, motor vehicle tax, mobile home tax and timber tax.
Property tax is an ad valorem tax, which means according to value. Ad valorem tax, the tax collected by the tax commissioner, is based on the value of the taxable property in the county.
All real estate, personal property, mobile homes, and motor vehicles are taxable unless the property has been exempted by law. Real property is land and generally anything that is erected, growing or affixed to the land; personal property is everything that can be owned that is not real estate. Personal property typically consists of inventory and fixtures used in conducting business, boats, aircraft, and farm machinery. Personal household property is not normally taxable.
Where do property tax dollars go?
- Property tax dollars support administration of county government and the public school system.
- Build and maintain public buildings, bridges and county roads
- Pay expenses of courts, county jail and law enforcement
- Provide fire protection
- Provide for public health and sanitation
This is an abbreviated list of how tax dollars are used to support local government projects. Please see the Georgia Code for a complete list. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-220)
The Tax Commissioner is an independent and elected office separate from both the Board of Tax Assessors and the Board of Commissioners.
Valuation and Taxation
Property is taxed on the Assessed Value -- 40 percent of fair market value - less any exemptions. The Fair Market Value is the 100 percent value as determined by the Board of Assessors. The amount for tax is calculated using the property value and the millage rate.
Mobile/modular homes are considered personal property and are taxable in Georgia. Tax must be paid annually. The owner of any mobile/modular home located in Habersham County must file a return and obtain a location permit. In order to obtain the location permit, the mobile home tax for the current year must be paid in full.
The tax rate, or millage rate, is set annually by the Habersham County Board of Commissioners and the Habersham County Board of Education. A tax rate of one mill represents a tax liability of $1 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The Board of Assessors and their staff have the sole responsibility and authority of determining the value of property in Macon-Bibb County. Each year between January 1 and April 1, every property owner has the ability to declare a proposed value for their property by filing a return. Returns for real estate and personal property are filed in the Tax Assessors’ Office. The Board of Assessors will review your proposed value, and if they disagree, an assessment notice with the Assessors’ value will be mailed to you.
If the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the value placed on the property, the taxpayer has the right to appeal this value within 45 days of the date of the notice. The appeal may be based on taxability, value, uniformity, and/or the denial of an exemption. The written appeal must initially be filed with the Board of Assessors and must state your chosen method of appeal. For more information regarding appeals, please call the Tax Assessors’ Office at 478.621.6701.
Once the property owner and the Board of Assessors have come to terms with an appropriate value, this value is provided to the Tax Commissioner for tax calculation. To calculate a tax statement, first deduct any exemptions that may apply from the assessed value which generates a net assessed (taxable) value. Then, multiply the net assessed value by the millage rate.
Property tax bills for real estate and personal property are mailed by September 15. Property tax for mobile/manufactured homes are mailed by January 30. Motor vehicle renewals are mailed 60 days prior to the birthdate of the primary owner.
Taxes for real estate and personal property are due November 15. Taxes for mobile/manufactured homes are due by April 1. If these dates fall on a weekend, they will shift to the next business day.
Tax statements are mailed to the homeowner, never to the mortgage company. We do send a data file to mortgage companies on record. It is the property owner’s responsibility to forward the bill to the mortgage company if necessary. Please contact your mortgage company directly if you have any questions, especially if your mortgage company has recently changed.
The Tax Commissioner does accept partial payments and taxpayers are welcome to make as many payments as needed to pay off the balance. However, penalties and interest continue to accrue on the outstanding balance. Any account with an outstanding balance will be subject to a lien. Therefore, the Tax Commissioner encourages full payment of any outstanding balance as soon as possible.
A lien, also known as a FiFa, is defined as “a claim, encumbrance, or charge on a taxpayer’s property to obtain payment of overdue taxes” (Georgia Department of Revenue). Prior to the issuance of a FiFa, a 30-day notice of intent is mailed to the owner of record. This notice will warn of a possible FiFa and will allow payment in full to the account within 30 days. FiFas are recorded on the General Execution Docket of the Clerk of the Superior Court.
When tax remains unpaid for more than 90 days after the due date, the tax is subject to a tax FiFa (lien) being recorded in the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court. Such records are public, and credit bureaus may access them which may be used to adversely affect your credit. The tax office does not report to credit bureaus and has no control of how they use the information or how often they update their records.
Homestead exemption exempts from taxation a specified amount from the assessed value of your home. Homestead exemption applications are approved by the Tax Assessors’ Office. To qualify, you must both own and occupy your home as of January 1. If you have previously qualified for homestead exemption and remain in the same house, you are not required to reapply each year. However, if you move or have a change in your deed, you will need to reapply for the exemption.
Application for homestead exemption may be submitted any time during the year but must be received before April 1 to have it apply as an exemption that year.
Title ad valorem tax (TAVT) replaces the annual motor vehicle ad valorem tax and the sales tax collected by dealers on motor vehicle sales for new purchases. TAVT applies to vehicles (new and used) purchased March 1, 2013 or later and is due each time a titled vehicle is transferred to a new owner.
Seven percent of the fair market value as assessed by the Department of Revenue. This percentage is based solely on the fair market value and not the sales price of the vehicle.
TAVT is paid when you transfer the title into your name. You apply for the title and pay TAVT in the county where you reside.
If you buy a vehicle at a registered Georgia dealership TAVT is collected by the dealer at the time of sale. Purchases from individuals are called casual sales. TAVT still applies and is paid by the purchaser when the vehicle is titled in the new owner’s name.
All vehicle owners have to pay a tag fee/registration once a year on or before their birthdays.
Sales of Property with Delinquent Taxes
Sales are announced in the news on this website. Please check the news often to see if a sale is scheduled and for a listing of the properties to be sold.