In the State of Georgia a Homestead Exemption (reduction in real estate property tax) may be entitled to the homeowner of record provided the home was owned by the homeowner as their legal residence as of January 1 of the taxable year. To be granted the Homestead Exemption the owner must occupy the home and the home must be considered their legal residence for all purposes.
Homeowners must make application to the tax commissioner´s office or the tax assessor´s office in order to receive the benefits of the Homestead Exemption. Beginning in 2005 applicants could actually file for 2006 benefits prior to the beginning of the 2006 tax year. In any case homeowners have until March 1 of the tax year to file for the exemption. Some counties have a deadline of May 1, however if you use March 1 as a standard you will be safe. Should a homeowner not file on time they lose the exemption for that tax year. The nice thing is that once a homeowner files for the Homestead Exemption you do not have to reapply annually, once granted the exemption remains in place as long as the property is the legal and primary residence of the homeowner.
All purchasers of real property should make application to the county tax office that the property is located in for the Homestead Exemption as soon as possible after closing on the property. While it is understandable that things will be hectic for a bit with the move and all, if it is put off too long it may well be forgotten. Remember that not making application within the timeline for your county of residence will result in losing the exemption for the year. That is a heavy price to pay for not allowing an hour or so to get what is rightfully yours.
In many instances the county will mail an application to the new owner of record; however this is not always the case. Take a proactive approach toward obtaining this tax benefit that you should be entitled to.
It would be to your great detriment to forget to apply for Homestead Exemption if you bought a new home in Atlanta last year. To make this process easier for you,visit the Georgia Department of Revenue to find more information about your county, applications and deadlines for filing your homestead exemption.
Congratulations on your new home!!