Homeowner Alert: New Homestead Exemptions
March 13, 2018
The Georgia General Assembly gave final passage to six bills that provide extensive protection to homeowners in north Fulton against massive property tax reassessments. Representative Jan Jones authored several of the bills and co-sponsored the rest.
The legislation expands current protections for the Fulton County portion of property tax bills and for city of Sandy Springs residents. The bills add protections for the Fulton County School Board portion of property tax bills and the portions for the cities of Roswell, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Milton and Mountain Park.
The new homestead exemptions for the cities and school system essentially freezes homeowners’ assessments for purposes of taxation at the 2016 level and allows for increases up to three percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Homestead exemptions remain in place as long as homeowners own their homes. Upon the sale of a home, the more current assessment takes effect and becomes the new “frozen” level.
“I was determined to protect my constituents from unpredictable and unaffordable property tax bills due to reassessments. After working on this since last fall, I was relieved when the bills gained final passage,” said Representative Jones
All of Fulton County outside of the city of Atlanta will vote on whether to approve the new homestead exemption for the Fulton County School System tax in a referendum in November. Respective city residents will also vote in referendums at the same time. If approved, the protections would become effective for 2019 tax bills. Because the tax digest is set April 1 for the current tax year by statewide law, the homestead exemptions cannot not take effect for the 2018 tax year.
The legislation was a result of a concerted team effort by north Fulton senators and representatives to address extreme reassessments in 2017 that would have resulted in large property tax increases. The Fulton County Commission threw out the reassessments and utilized the 2016 tax digest.
House Bills 707, 708, 710, 711, 712 and Senate Bill 317 have been sent to the governor’s desk and await his signature.