Property Tax Relief from Georgia: Senate Passes Bill to Slow Property Tax Hikes

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To offer relief to homeowners from rising property taxes, the Georgia Senate recently approved a bill that slows property tax hikes. The property tax relief from Georgia limits the increase in home value (for tax purposes) to a maximum of 3 percent. It isn’t clear for now if the House will approve this legislation as it has a different property tax cut plan.

Property tax relief from Georgia: what is it?

Last week, the Senate voted 42-7 to pass Senate Bill 349, officially called the Save Our Homes Act. The bill limits the increase in a home’s value, as assessed for property tax purposes, to 3 percent annually. The limit will hold as long as homeowners maintain a homestead exemption.

Specifically, the legislation will change the public notice provisions regarding a local government’s plan to raise property taxes. Also, it changes the process to appeal against the tax assessors’ property valuation for tax purposes.

“Senate Bill 349 limits increases in property taxes year to year, reforms the appeals process, and allows for more transparency in our taxation procedures,” Lt. Governor Burt Jones said in a statement.

Additionally, SB349 seeks to change the information needed in the annual notice of a homeowner’s current assessment and alter the process for a valuation settlement conference.

Georgia’s property tax collections increased by 41 percent from 2018 to 2022, but the total assessed property value increased by about 39 percent during the same period. These numbers include not only existing property but new buildings as well. So, it isn’t exactly clear how much the valuations rose on existing homes.

Save Our Homes Act: will it become law?

Although the Senate has approved the Save Our Homes Act, it will be interesting to see if this property tax relief gets the same treatment in the House, which has a different property tax cut plan.

Earlier this month, the House voted in favor of a bill that raises the statewide homestead tax exemption from $2,000 currently to $4,000. If approved, the bill could help some homeowners save $100 annually on their tax bills. This bill, however, won’t apply in counties that already have local homestead tax exemptions.

The Association of County Commissioners of Georgia supports the Senate’s measure to offer property tax relief from Georgia, but the Georgia School Board Association opposes it, arguing such decisions should be made locally.

Also, many have raised concerns over how the Senate’s property tax relief might impact school board budgets. School taxes represent the biggest part of the property tax bill for most taxpayers.

As with many other states, rising property taxes have also been a concern for Georgia homeowners. Many states, including Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Pennsylvania, have proposed or are working on legislation to address the issue of rising property taxes.

Now, Georgia is also likely to provide a relief measure, but it will be interesting to see if it will be an initiative from the Senate or House or a compromise of both.