Augusta Business Daily

Thu, November 30, 2023

Real Talk Real Estate: Local tax assessment bills, millage rates, and unnerving updates

Last week, I watched a segment on the local news where they interviewed representatives from the Richmond County tax assessor’s office talking about the process used to decide values for property taxes. This process is similar to a property appraisal done by realtors or appraisers and is determined by local sales values. All counties generally follow the same process and then use their local millage rate formula to decide a tax assessment figure.

Here is a quick example to show you how the millage rate process works. In Georgia, the typical assessed value is 40% of the fair market value.

The assessed value of a house that is worth $100,000 is $40,000. In a county where the millage rate is 25 mills, the annual property tax on that house would be $1,000.

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Essentially $25 for every $1,000 of assessed value or $25 multiplied by 40 is $1,000.

If you live in Richmond County, they have just sent all property owners copies of their annual assessment bills. In the TV segment, they did an excellent job explaining how you can contest an increase to your property tax bill, if you disagree with the new value. My guess is everyone will see an increase, and they are possibly going to be more than expected, hence, the preemptive news report.

When you get your bill, if you think it’s an excessive increase, you have the right to challenge it and attempt to get the tax assessment lowered. By filing an appeal, you will have the chance to prove the sales values on your street have not warranted the increase you have been assessed.

In Georgia, you have 45 days from the receipt of the notice to file the appropriate paperwork.

One more quick note, traditionally, your tax assessment value would be less than the actual fair market value. This is not always the case, but could be used as a general rule if you are considering selling your home anytime soon. Trust me, we could use the inventory on the market, and for the most part, we are still in a sellers’ market.

On to some other taxing news I noticed posted in The Augusta Chronicle this week relating to Columbia County! It appears that Harlem and Grovetown are holding public hearings in the next few weeks and are proposing a millage rate increase.

This means that in addition to a tax increase because of the sales appreciation, you will have a higher mileage rate as well, doubling the increases in one fell swoop. That’s a tough hit for most homeowners, so make sure you show up and let your voice be heard at one of the hearings.

Check out the dates and times listed on the attached notice I grabbed from what was publicly posted in the newspaper.

While we are discussing taxes, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t remind you to file for your homestead tax exemption. You may qualify for this tax break on the property that you are using for your main residence, it doesn’t apply to investment property.

If you qualify, saving that money is important, especially with the emerging property tax increases on the horizon for us all.

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