Property Taxes & Homestead Exemption

It's that time of the year - TAX SEASON. I don't know about you, but I'm already organizing receipts and paperwork so that I can breathe a sigh of relief come April 15th. As a new or existing homeowner, there's another factor to consider that will give you a little extra money in your pocket and that's your eligibility for homestead exemption. 

Homestead Exemption

In the metro Atlanta area, applying homestead exemption is easy - and don't let the term "homestead" fool you, you don't need to live on a farm to do it. In tax terms, homestead just means the primary residence that you owned and occupied as of January 1st of that year. Unfortunately this does not apply to rental properties, vacant land or your additional properties like second houses or vacation properties. You must also be a permanent legal resident of that county.

Each county has their own method for applying, and I'm actually going to show you the long way so that you know how to look up your tax and assessment information later on if you want to appeal your assessment. I'll be writing a blog post about that next week so stay tuned!

DeKalb County

First, visit the tax assessor's website for DeKalb. If you live in City of Atlanta in DeKalb like I do in East Atlanta, this is all you'll need to do. They'll automatically apply your information to your city taxes. Enter your house number and street name to find your property. Click on your address, and then scroll to the bottom right of the page and click "property tax data." This will bring you to your tax overview page. This is where you can see historical taxes for your property, look at the condition codes, pull up old tax payoff receipts and look at things you'll likely never need like your deed book, parcel ID number and more.

If you have homestead exemption already applied, you'll see this. If you're a senior, it might show slightly different terminology like "H6F - SR 65-PART SCHOOL (I) + FRZ" or "A6F - SENIOR SCHOOL & FREEZE"

If you don't, you'll see this:

Click on "Apply for Basic Homestead Exemption and Property Assessment Freeze" and fill out the information. Once you're done, submit your application and check back in about a week to make sure it was applied to your property. You've got until April 1st to do this, but there's no harm in getting it done early. 

Fulton County

First, visit the tax assessor's website for Fulton. Choose a criteria, like "Location Address". Enter your house number and street name to find your property. Click on your address, and then scroll to the bottom right of the page and click "property tax data." This will bring you to your tax overview page where they show a simple "yes" or "no." If you have homestead exemption already applied, you'll see this:

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If you don't, you'll see this:

So to apply homestead to your property, visit Fulton's homestead exemption site and read the directions, and then fill out their form. Once you're finished, hit "Submit" and double check in a week or so to make sure it has been applied. 

Tips

  • You'll hear people say "you only need to fill it out once!" This is mostly true. If you change your name or quit claim the deed, you will have to resubmit your homestead exemption. Basically any technical change in ownership will require you to resubmit the application which is the same easy process as described above. 
  • When you fill out these forms, you'll need your vehicle information and drivers license number for all vehicles registered at the property. 
  • There isn't a fixed amount that this will save, so everyone's situation will be different, but from personal experience I can tell you that homestead exemption has trimmed about $1,200 off my property taxes on average.