Homestead Exemption | David Watkins | Real Living Capital City
Real Estate Taxes & Homestead Exemption

A great way to save and help protect your property's value.

Generally, a homeowner is entitled to a homestead exemption on their home and land underneath provided the home was owned by the homeowner and was their legal residence as of January 1 of the taxable year.  (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-40)  .  The home must be your legal residence for all purposes whatsoever including the registration of your vehicles and filing of your Federal and Georgia State income taxes. You cannot file for homestead exemption on rental property, vacant land, or on more than one property. 

A homeowner can file an application for homestead exemption for their home and land any time during the calendar year. To receive the homestead exemption for the current tax year, the homeowner must have owned the property on January 1 and filed the homestead application by the same date property tax returns are due in the county. Property tax returns are required to be filed by April 1. Homestead applications that are filed after this date will not be granted until the next calendar year. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-45).  Failure to apply by the deadline will result in loss of the exemption for that year.  (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-45)

For more information about Homestead Exemptions, visit the Georgia Department of Revenue's Web Site by clicking here.

How and Where to File

For the first year, the new homeowner usually must go in person to the office of the Tax Commissioner of the county in which the property is located. However, there are some counties that allow the filing of the homestead exemption by mail.  Please check with your county tax office.  Be sure that if you live in a specific city or town, you may have to file there as well.

You will need the following to file for a Homestead Exemption:
  • Your Warranty Deed
  • Present and previous ownership
  • Description of the property
  • Kind of title held
  • Name of mortgage company (if applicable)
  • Amount of loan (if applicable)

Failure to file a tax return will result in a penalty, forfeiture of homestead exemption, and will increase your monthly payments. If your property is located within the limits of a city, you must also check with the city tax commissioner.  Depending on your county and city, your tax bill will be sent to you as early as July and as late as December.  Some locals bill twice a year.  In the event your lender is holding tax funds in escrow, you should write your loan number on the tax bill and enclose the tax bill along with the next payment and forward it to the lender. 

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