Richard C. Wayne

Every year each county in the State of Georgia collects property taxes for all non-exempt real and personal property.  Real property is anything attached or growing on land and personal property is anything else that is owned that is not real property.  Real property is taxed by the county wherein it is located and personal property is taxed by the county wherein the owner resides, unless the law provides otherwise.

Property taxes are based upon the value of the property, sometimes called ad valorem taxes.  Generally, businesses are required to file a personal property tax return annually for all personal property with the county tax commissioner or tax assessor.    The personal property tax return provides specific instructions for calculating property values.  A sample of the Business Personal Property Tax Return can be found here.

The calculation of real property taxes is generally assessed at 40% of the fair market value of the property.  Counties must send out annual assessment notices to all tax payers.  The assessment includes the fair market value of the property as well as the assessed value.  The assessment only provides an “estimated tax” because the prior year’s net millage rate is used and the actual millage rate may increase or decrease from year to year.  Taxpayers have the right to appeal the value of the property as stated on the notice of assessment.  The exact process for filing the appeal may differ by county.  It is recommended that property owners consult with a legal professional if they are considering filing an appeal to ensure compliance with the specific requirements.  A successful appeal can freeze the value of the property for three years.  Failure to conform exactly with the appeal process or any administrative requirements may result in a loss or denial of the appeal.