New Sandy Springs Homeowners – Don’t Forget to File Homestead Exemption

If you purchased a new home in Sandy Springs during 2010, then you’ll want to make sure you apply for the homestead exemption by April 1, 2011. Getting the homestead exemption reduces your property taxes significantly, exemptions up to $30,000, so this is definitely not something to overlook. The good news is that you only have to apply once because the exemption is automatically renewed each year as long as you continually occupy the home under the same ownership.

The basic homestead exemption for Fulton County and the City of Atlanta applies to city operating, city school operating, city parks, state QBE and county operating taxes in the amount of $30,000. However, in order to be eligible for this exemption, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a legal resident in the City of Atlanta and Fulton County
  • Must own and occupy your home as of January 1, 2011

There are other exemptions that you can get in addition to the basic homestead if you qualify – disabled veterans, surviving spouse of a peace officer or firefighter and homestead freeze for senior citizens to name a few. For a full list, be sure to visit the Fulton County Board of Assessors website.

It’s also important to note that the Georgia Senate Bill 346 passed earlier this year, which will reform the way that values are assigned to our homes each year in determining property taxes. So whether you are a new homeowner or not, property taxes are going to be easier to handle this year. If you are unfamiliar with Georgia Senate Bill 346 some of the most important highlights include:

  • All relevant sales, including distressed sales, will be included when determining Fair Market Value
  • Taxpayers will be given access to all the data used in determining Fair Market Value
  • Every property owner will receive an annual Notice of Assessment, which guarantees right to appeal
  • The appeal time period has been extended from 30 to 45 days
  • When government does not respond to appeals within 45 days, there will be an automatic taxpayer victory

While these are only a few aspects of the bill, it’s safe to say that the upcoming tax season should be a little more bearable for all us.

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