If you are moving from another state to Metro Atlanta or perhaps are even a local resident entering your 60s, you will want to consider the generous property tax exemptions offered to seniors in several Metro Atlanta counties. While we’ve written about Senior Tax exemptions in the past, we thought a helpful summary of tax breaks for the bigger counties in Metro Atlanta would be helpful for Seniors to make easier comparisons.
First, some overall notes about property taxes. All Georgia residents are eligible for homestead exemptions on their primary residence with the amount of the exemption varying in each county and sometimes also by city. These exemptions can generally save you a couple of hundred dollars a year or more, again depending on the county. Additional “Senior” exemptions (again for primary residences) are available that vary by county, in some cases starting as early as age 62 or as late as 70 this will make more sense as you get into the summaries for each county below.When the exemptions apply to School taxes, the savings can be in the thousands! To apply for any exemptions, you must have lived in the home as of January 1 and if there is an age-related exemption, one person on the deed must be the specified age as of January 1.
Okay, if your eyes haven’t glazed over by now, we are almost to the summaries. But first, a couple of final notes: This chart was created April 2013 as an overview of various exemptions available to seniors in Metro Atlanta. While believed to be accurate, the information here is not guaranteed and keep in mind that we are not tax professionals and we do not provide tax advice. Homebuyers should ALWAYS research for themselves tax information before purchasing to assure that exemptions are available for their individual circumstances. Note also that if you live in an incorporated town, additional city taxes may be applicable.
All right, now with all that out-of-the-way, let’s get into the details for each county, starting with the counties closest to downtown Atlanta:
- Cherokee County (major cities include Canton and Woodstock) - Complete exemption on school tax at 62 on first $377,750 of home value; additional exemptions based on income. Cherokee County senior tax breaks
- Cobb County (major cities include Acworth, Kennesaw, Marietta and Smyrna) – Complete exemption on school tax at 62; additional exemptions based on income. All Cobb County exemptions here.
- DeKalb County (major cities include Decatur, Dunwoody, Stone Mountain and parts of Atlanta) – Exempt from all school tax at 62 IF income excluding Social Security and retirement income does not exceed 10K; income limit goes to 16K at 65; household income cannot exceed $80,124 at 70. Once exemption is granted, homeowner can also freeze assessment value. All DeKalb County exemptions here.
- Forsyth County (major cities include Cumming, parts of unincorporated Alpharetta and Gainesville) - Exempt from all school tax at 65, also eligible for an additional 16K exemption (double exemption) on county tax if gross household income is less than 40K; a 20K school tax exemption is available at 62 if income is less than 16K. All Forsyth County exemptions here.
- Fulton County (major cities include Alpharetta, Atlanta, Johns Creek, Milton and Roswell) - Various county and city of Atlanta exemptions are available based on income and age. All Fulton County exemptions here.
Other counties near Atlanta with Active Adult communities:
- Bartow County (major city is Cartersville) - School tax exemption of 40K at age 65; income based reduction at 62. All Bartow County exemptions here.
- Douglas County (major city is Douglasville) – Exempt from all school tax at 62; additional city and county exemptions available at 65 IF income does not exceed 10K. All Douglas County exemptions here.
- Gwinnett County (major cities include Duluth, Lawrenceville, Snellville and Suwanee) - Exempt from all school tax at 65 IF income is less than 25K after deductions; a partial exemption is available at 62 IF income is less than 10K after deductions. All Gwinnett County exemptions here.
- Hall County (major city is Gainesville) - Partial exemption of 30K towards school taxes IF income excluding Social Security and retirement income does not exceed 25K and SS/retirement is less than $60,792; at 65, income drops to 10K and an additional 2K credit is applied to homestead: Complete exemption from school tax at age 70. All Hall County exemptions here.
- Jackson County (major cities include Braselton and Commerce) - Exempt from school tax at 62 IF income does not exceed 18K excluding retirement and pensions; a 4K homestead exemption is available at 65 IF income does not exceed 18K; an inflation-proof exemption may apply at 62 if income does not exceed 30K. All Jackson County exemptions here.
- Paulding County (major cities include Dallas and parts of unincorporated Acworth) - Exempt from half of school tax at 65 and exempt for 100% of school tax at 70 based upon income. No online details available; please call 770-443-7606 to verify whether you are qualified.
- Spalding County (major city is Griffin) - Homestead exemption is 2K regardless of age; exempt from all taxes at 62 if household income is less than 20K; at 65, a 10K exemption towards school taxes; increases to 20K at 70 and 30K at 75; at 65, IF income excluding SS/retirement is less than 40K, you may be eligible for up to 10K exemption on county taxes; other exemptions and tax deferrals are available based on income and age. All Spalding County exemptions here, click on the link, then click “Exemptions”, then click “Homestead Exemptions”.
So if you are thinking of a move to Georgia, realize that our state is senior-friendly and many of our counties have decided that since you no longer have school-age children and may be living on retirement savings, you deserve a break on your property taxes. As Active Adult Specialists, we can help you sort thru your housing options to make your next move a great one.