What Is Real Property?
General Property Tax Information
Property tax is the primary source of revenue for local governments. Three components determine property taxes: assessed value, exemptions and millage rates. Assessed value is determined by the Tax Assessor’s Office. Millage rates are set by the Board of Commissioners, Board of Education and each city. The Tax Commissioner bills, collects and disburses taxes and is not involved in determining the amount of taxes. The assessed value is 40% of the Jan. 1 fair market value as determined by the Tax Assessor. Millage rates are the rate of tax to be applied to the value of property. A mill is $1 of tax per $1,000 of assessed value. Taxes are calculated by taking the assessed value, less exemptions, and multiplying the result by the millage rate. For more information on the Property Tax Cycle, please click here.
Real property: Residential and commercial real estate and permanent improvements, such as homes/buildings. Real property is land and generally anything that is erected, growing or affixed to the land.
Who is Legally Responsible for Payment on Real property?
Real and personal property tax statements are mailed by September 15th each year. The due date to pay real and personal property tax is November 15th. You may make one payment or you may make partial payments up until the November 15th due date without interest (currently 0.875%) or penalty. If there is a balance after November 15th, state mandated monthly interest will begin accruing. After 120 days of delinquency, a 5% state mandated penalty will be added based on the unpaid base amount. 5% penalty is added every 120 days up until the amount equals 20% of the base tax amount.
If you sold a property during the year, the official tax record will still reflect your name. The Georgia Tax Code specifies that tax files be maintained in the name of the owner of record as of January 1 of the tax year. Please note: if you owned the property on January 1, any lien resulting from delinquent taxes will be recorded in your name unless proof of transfer can be provided within 90 days of the due date. Proof of transfer includes a copy of the recorded deed and the closing statement stating that liability for payment of taxes was assigned to the buyer. Regardless of a sale or other transfer of ownership, taxes are still due and payable by the due date.
First of all, congratulations on your purchase!
Purchasing a new property is an exciting, rewarding and sometimes challenging endeavor. The Tax Commissioner’s office wants to make the transition into your new home as smooth as possible. Remember that you can always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-531-6950 if you have specific questions.
Checklist for New Property Owners
- Make sure that your property taxes are paid in full by the due date. Even if taxes are prorated at closing, it is wise to ensure they have been paid.
- If you have an escrow account, make sure that your mortgage company has paid the taxes. You may find this information by accessing your property tax information.
- If this property is your primary residence, apply for your Homestead Exemption. You must own and occupy your property on Jan. 1 of the tax year to receive the exemption.
We do not send tax bills to mortgage companies. If your property taxes are in an escrow account, your property tax information will be made available to your mortgage company; however, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure taxes are paid. If you have questions about whether your mortgage company will be paying your taxes, contact them, especially if your mortgage company has recently changed.
Just Sold A Home Or Property
You sold, but are you still liable for property taxes?
This is why sellers receive a tax bill.
If you sold your home this year, you will still receive a bill.
The Tax Commissioner is responsible for billing both the new and Jan. 1 owners, which often surprises sellers.
Most of the time tax liability transfers seamlessly to buyers because taxes are paid on time. On the rare occasion they’re not, sellers need to know the tax laws and how to protect themselves.
Taxes accrue in full on Jan. 1, and the Jan. 1 owner is responsible for the entire amount. If the taxes become delinquent, the Jan. 1 owner is named on the tax lien – unless, within 90 days of the payment due date, three things are in place:
- Acceptable proof that the purchaser assumed liability is submitted to the Tax Commissioner, and
- The deed is in the new owner’s name, and
- The deed is properly recorded.
When these are true, liens for delinquent taxes will be filed in the name of the owner as of the tax due date.
Samples of Unacceptable and Acceptable Language
“The Buyer and Seller agree to adjust for any additional or revised tax bills…”
“Unpaid taxes not accounted for in the closing statement are the responsibility of the Seller and Buyer to prorate.”
“Buyer and Seller agree to adjust the pro-rations amongst themselves.”
Any reference to “see the sales contract” requires the sales contract to include acceptable language.
Pro-ration of taxes
These items are typically found on the “Acknowledgement of Receipt of Settlement Statement and/or the Sales Contract.
“Seller assigns the liability for the payment of property taxes to the Purchaser and Purchaser accepts such assignment, and Purchaser agrees to pay in full by the current year due date.”
“Payment of all outstanding taxes and assessments not paid at settlement and those incurred in the future are assumed by Purchaser.”
A Few Things to Remember
If the property tax is paid by the due date, no documentation is required.
If the taxes for the year in which the property was sold go unpaid, a tax lien is issued against the property. It is filed in the name of the Jan. 1 owner unless the Jan. 1 owner provides the Tax Commissioner with acceptable proof of the transfer of tax liability (see above).
If proof of the transfer of tax liability is provided within 90 days of the tax payment due date, the tax lien is filed in the name of the new owner. Ex. If the tax is due Nov. 15, 2023 proof needs to be received by Feb. 13, 2024.
What Is Personal Property?
General Property Tax Information
Property tax is the primary source of revenue for local governments. Three components determine property taxes: assessed value, exemptions and millage rates. Assessed value is determined by the Tax Assessor’s Office. Millage rates are set by the Board of Commissioners, Board of Education and each city. The Tax Commissioner bills, collects and disburses taxes and is not involved in determining the amount of taxes. The assessed value is 40% of the Jan. 1 fair market value as determined by the Tax Assessor. Millage rates are the rate of tax to be applied to the value of property. A mill is $1 of tax per $1,000 of assessed value. Taxes are calculated by taking the assessed value, less exemptions, and multiplying the result by the millage rate. For more information on the Property Tax cycle, please click here.
(1) Business furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment and tangible inventory.
(2) Aircraft, boats and motors. Aircraft are taxed where hangared or tied down and where flights normally originate. Aircraft with no permanent location are taxed at the owner’s domicile or business address. Boats and motors are taxed in the county where functionally located for 184 days or more in the prior year.
Personal property is everything that can be owned that is not real estate. Personal property typically consists of inventory and fixtures used in conducting business, boats, aircraft, and farm machinery. Personal household property is not normally taxable.
Filing Returns for Personal Property
Business, boat, motor and aircraft owners are required to file a personal property return annually by April 1. Business furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment and tangible inventory with a combined value of more than $7,500 is taxable; as are boats, motors and aircraft with a combined value over $7,500. More information and return forms are available at https://www.hallcounty.org/253/Forms-Applications. Owners of property valued over $7,500 who previously filed are mailed return forms in January that are due by April 1. Late returns may incur a 10% late penalty. Owners who do not report personal property acquired the previous year and still owned as of January 1 of the current year may be assessed a 10% penalty when discovered.
Who is responsible for Payment of personal property tax?
Georgia Tax Law (O.C.G.A 48-5) specifies that the owner of the personal property (i.e. business assets/inventory, planes, boats and watercraft) on January 1 of the tax year is responsible for the full year’s property tax regardless of subsequent sale, amount of usage or change of location. If the personal property was sold or relocated out of county prior to January 1, notification must be sent to the tax assessors’ office for removal from the digest. The Tax Assessors’ Office will require documentation (i.e. bill of sale, taxes paid receipt of current county, notarized affidavit attesting to location) before removing the account in Hall County.