Frequently Asked Questions
The information in this web site is intended to aid you in understanding your rights and responsibilities relating to property tax in Macon County. This is not intended to cover the many and complex tax laws in Georgia. If you have questions or need clarification, please call the office at 478-472-7031. My staff and I are here to help you.
The purpose of this FAQ is to answer questions and provide general information to the public on taxation in Macon County, Georgia. This FAQ does not necessarily cover every aspect of property taxation and should not be relied upon as a legal source of information. Please refer to the specified code sections for specific limitations.
Lexis Nexis offers free public access to the Official Code of Georgia, a compilation of all Georgia laws. Learn more.
The Macon County Tax Commissioner's Office should be contacted for more information on inquiries about billing and collection of property taxes, and the Macon County Board of Tax Assessor's Office should be contacted for more information on property values. The phone number for the Tax Assessor is 478-472-6560.
What is property taxation?
Property tax is an ad valorem tax, which means according to value. Ad valorem tax, the tax collected by the tax commissioner, is based on the value of the taxable property in the county.
What property is taxed?
All real estate and personal property are taxable unless law has exempted the property. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-3) Real property is land and generally anything that is erected, growing or affixed to the land; 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, farm machinery, motor vehicles and mobile homes. Your household property is not normally taxable.
Who decides how much my property is worth for tax purposes?
The Board of Assessors and its staff have the responsibility of determining the value of property in Baldwin County. Each year between January 1 and April 1 every property owner has the ability to declare a proposed value for their property. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-9) These values are declared in the manner of 'filing a return'. Returns for real estate are filed in the Tax Assessor's office and returns for personal property are filed with the Board of Assessors. The Board of Assessors will review your proposed value and if they disagree, an assessment notice with the Boards' value will be mailed to you.
What if I disagree with the Tax Assessors' value?
Taxpayers may challenge an assessment by Baldwin County Board of Tax Assessors by appealing to Baldwin County Board of Equalization or to an arbitrator(s) within 45 days from the date of the assessment notice. Once the county board of equalization or the arbitrator(s) has rendered a decision, the taxpayer may continue their appeal to the superior court by mailing or filing with Baldwin County Board of Tax Assessors a written notice wishing to continue the appeal.
What is the difference between fair market value and assessed value?
Assessed value is defined as being 40 percent of the fair market value. Property in Georgia is taxed on the assessed value.
What is a millage rate?
The tax rate, or millage rate, is set annually by the Macon County Commissioners and the Baldwin County Board of Education. A tax rate of one mill represents a tax liability of one dollar per $1,000 of assessed value. Each governing authority estimates their total revenue from other sources. This figure is subtracted from their overall budgetary needs, and then a millage rate is set that will generate the necessary revenues to fulfill budgetary requirements.
How is my tax bill calculated?
Once the property owner and the Board of Assessors have come to terms with an appropriate value, this value is provided to the Tax Commissioner for tax bill calculation. To calculate a tax bill, you must first deduct any exemptions that many apply from the assessed value; thus generating a net assessed (taxable) value. Next you multiply the net assessed value by the millage rate.
What if I get a tax bill for a piece of property I have sold?
You will need to forward the property tax bill to the new owner. However, the law requires that the fifa(lien) is to be recorded in the January 1 owner’s name unless the Tax Commissioner’s Office has been presented with a contract(closing statement) within 90 days from the due date that proves the new owner is responsible for payment of the taxes. Therefore, if you sell a piece of property and the taxes were pro rated at closing you must bring a copy of your closing statement to the Tax Commissioner’s Office within 90 days from the due date. If we receive this closing statement we can then record the fifa in the new owner’s name.
When is my tax bill due?
Taxes for real estate and business personal property are normally due in Macon County by November 15 of each year. Mobile/modular homes are due May 1 of each year and motor vehicles are due based on the owners' birthday.
After the due date, for real estate and business personal property, interest at the rate of 1% per month is charged. Additionally, a penalty of 10 percent will apply to all taxes that are not paid within 90 days of the deadline, however, homesteaded property with a tax liability of less than $500 does not receive the 90-day penalty.
If the property taxes remain unpaid, the tax commissioner has the right and responsibility to levy on the property for non-payment. Of course we consider this a last resort for tax collection and prefer to use other collection methods.
Is there anyway to reduce my tax bill?
Yes. There are several exemptions and special assessment programs available that may apply to your property. The most common are the homestead exemption for real estate and for business personal property there is the freeport exemption. Contact the Macon County Tax Assessor’s Office for details of the available exemptions.
What is and how do I file for homestead exemption?
Homestead exemption is the system developed by the State of Georgia that exempts from taxation a specified amount of assessed value of your home. To apply for homestead exemption bring a copy of your warranty deed to the Tax Assessor’s office between January 2 and March 1. To qualify you must both own and occupy your home as of January 1. Once you have qualified for homestead exemption and remain in the same house you do not need to reapply. However, if you move, you are required to reapply for the exemption for the new location. As of June 1, 2005 application for homestead exemption may be submitted any time during the year but must be received before March 1 of the taxable year to qualify for the exemption that year. If received after March 1, the Tax Assessor will activate the exemption the following year.
Where do I get a copy of my warranty deed?
You can obtain a copy of your warranty deed from the Clerk of Superior Court record center. This office is located at the Macon County Courthouse, 121 South Sumter St., Oglethorpe, Georgia 31068.
Do I pay taxes on my mobile/modular home?
Yes. Mobile/modular homes are considered personal property and are taxable in the State of Georgia. Tax must be paid annually with a due date of May 1. The owner of any mobile/modular home located in Macon County must file a return and obtain a location permit. In order to obtain this permit the mobile home tax for the current year must be paid in full.
Where do property tax dollars go?
- To support administration of county government and the public school system;
- To build and repair public buildings and bridges;
- To pay expenses of courts, county jail and law enforcement;
- To build and maintain county roads;
- To provide for fire protection;
- To provide for public health and sanitation.
This is an abbreviated list; please see the Official Code of Georgia for a complete list.(O.C.G.A. 48-5-220)