Archive for June, 2011

Homestead Exemptions in Georgia

Monday, June 13, 2011

During a closing, or real estate sale transaction, I get asked a lot by agents and new home buyers, “What is the Homestead Exemption?” “How, and where, do I file for my Homestead Exemption?” and “How much is the Homestead Exemption?” In this blog I will cover each one of these.

What is the Homestead Exemption?

A homestead exemption could be called property tax relief; in the way that it allows a home owner to deduct a set amount from the assessed value of their legal primary residence, from their total property tax value. To be eligible a person, a non-person entity is not eligible, the home must be owned by the person wanting to file for the homestead and it has to be their legal residence (actually occupying the residence) as of January 1st of that year.

Example: Mr. Smith buys his house, in Cobb County, on August 12th, 2011. He can file for homestead exemption at any time before April 1st for the 2012 tax year. He cannot apply the homestead exemption to his 2011 taxes because he didn’t own the property on January 1, 2011.

A home owner only has to file for a Homestead Exemption once and they do not have to file for the exemption again for the length of ownership.

How, and where, do I file for my Homestead Exemption?

The application for homestead exemption must be filed at the tax commissioner’s office, or tax assessor’s office depending on the county, by April 1st of the taxable year, to be applied for that year. (Some counties have earlier deadlines)(An application can be filed year round, but will not apply until the following year) Your specific county can be found at, this is a page that will allow you to search for the appropriate taxing authority and the address to file your homestead exemption. Depending on when you are filing, you may have to bring a copy of your Warranty Deed that you received at closing with you, a copy of the Settlement Statement (HUD-1) to show ownership of the property, your identification, and in some counties you may have to provide your social security number.

How much is the Homestead Exemption?

In Georgia the deduction amounts range from the normal $2,000 exemption to a total 100% exemption. (Normal tax exemption of $2,000 applies to the majority of home owners in Georgia.) The amount of deduction from the state can be found here on the Georgia Department of Revenues’ website: In general, the amount of the tax relief was between $200 and $300. Counties can also have homestead exemption amounts, like the state, county exemptions range from $2,000 to a 100% exemption, but are generally more generous. (Cobb County has a base of a $10,000 exemption for homestead and will give a 100% reduction in school taxes to home owners over 62.)