Frequently Asked Questions
What is property taxation?
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.
What property is taxed?
All real estate and personal property are taxable unless law has exempted the property. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-3). 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, motor vehicles and mobile homes. Your household property is not normally taxable.
Who decides how much my property is worth for tax purposes?
The Board of Assessors and their staff have the responsibility of determining the value of property in Franklin County. Each year between January 1 and April 1 every property owner has the ability to declare a proposed value for their property. See (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-18) and (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-263). These values are declared in the manner of ‘filing a return’. Returns for real estate are filed in the Tax Assessor’s office. The Board of Assessors will review your proposed value and if they disagree, an assessment notice with the Boards’ value will be mailed to you.
What if I disagree with the Tax Assessors’ value?
Taxpayers may challenge an assessment by Franklin County Board of Tax Assessors by appealing to Franklin County Board of Equalization or to an arbitrator(s) within 45 days from the date of the assessment notice. Once the county board of equalization or the arbitrator(s) has rendered a decision, the taxpayer may continue their appeal to the superior court by mailing or filing with Franklin County Board of Tax Assessors a written notice wishing to continue the appeal.
What is the difference between fair market value and assessed value?
Assessed value is defined as being 40% of the fair market value. Property in Georgia is taxed on the assessed value.
What is a millage rate?
The tax rate, or millage rate, is set annually by the Franklin County Commissioners and the Franklin County Board of Education. A tax rate of one mill represents a tax liability of one dollar per $1,000 of assessed value. Each governing authority estimates their total revenue from other sources. This figure is subtracted from their overall budgetary needs, and then a millage rate is set that will generate the necessary revenues to fulfill budgetary requirements.
How is my tax bill calculated?
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 bill calculation. To calculate a tax bill, you must first deduct any exemptions that many apply from the assessed value; thus generating a net assessed (taxable) value. Next you multiply the net assessed value by the millage rate.
When is my tax bill due?
Taxes for real estate and business personal property are normally due in Franklin County by November 15th of each year. Motor vehicles are due based on the owners’ birthday.
After the due date, for real estate and business personal property, interest at the rate of 1% per month is charged. Additionally, a penalty of 10% will apply to all taxes that are not paid within 90 days of the deadline, however, homesteaded property with a tax liability of less than $500 does not receive the 90-day penalty.
If the property taxes remain unpaid, the tax commissioner has the right and responsibility to levy on the property for non-payment. Of course we consider this a last resort for tax collection and prefer to use other collection methods.
Is there any way to reduce my tax bill?
Yes. There are several exemptions and special assessment programs available that may apply to your property. The most common are the homestead exemption for real estate and for business personal property there is the freeport exemption. Click here for details of the available exemptions.
What is and how do I file for homestead exemption?
Homestead exemption is the system developed by the State of Georgia that exempts from taxation a specified amount of assessed value of your home. To apply for a homestead exemption you must file an application with the Tax Assessor’s office between January 2nd and April 1st. To qualify you must both own and occupy your home as of January 1st. Once you have qualified for homestead exemption and remain in the same house you do not need to reapply. However, if you move, you are required to reapply for the exemption for the new location. Beginning June 1, 2005 the application for homestead exemption may be submitted any time during the year but must be received before April 1st of the taxable year to qualify for the exemption that year. If received after April 1st, the Tax Assessor will activate the exemption for the following year.
Do I pay taxes on my mobile/modular home?
Yes. Mobile/modular homes are considered personal property and are taxable in the State of Georgia. Tax must be paid annually. The owner of any mobile/modular home located in Franklin County must file a return and obtain a location permit. In order to obtain this permit the mobile home tax for the current year must be paid in full.
Where do property tax dollars go?
• To support administration of county government and the public school system;
• To build and repair public buildings and bridges;
• To pay expenses of courts, county jail and law enforcement;
• To build and maintain county roads;
• To provide for fire protection;
• To provide for public health and sanitation
This is an abbreviated list please see Georgia Code for a complete list. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-220)
Will paying my taxes late affect my credit?
When taxes remain unpaid for more than 90 days after their due date, the taxes are subject to a tax fifa (lien) being recorded in the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court. These records are public so credit bureaus may access them and may use them to adversely affect your credit. The tax office does not deal with these credit bureaus and so has no control of how they use the information or how often they update their records.
What is the HTRG credit on my tax bill?
The HTRG (Homeowner’s Tax Relief Grant) is the result of the homeowner’s tax relief enacted by the Governor and the General Assembly of the State of Georgia in 1999. The grant, appropriated by the General Assembly and the Governor for the last several years to counties, cities and schools, had given tax relief to homeowners in the form of a credit on their tax bills. For the 2009 tax year, the Governor and General Assembly did not fund the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant. Therefore, there will not be a credit for this grant on 2009 tax bills on properties with homestead exemption.