Ad Valorem Tax

Ad valorem tax, more commonly known as property tax, is a large source of revenue for local governments in Georgia. The basis for ad valorem taxation is the fair market value of the property, which is established as of January 1 of each year. The tax is levied on the assessed value of the property which, by law, is established at 40% of the fair market value unless otherwise specified by law (O.C.G.A. 48-5-7). Fair market value means "the amount knowledgeable a buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for the property at an arm's length, bona fide sale. "(O.C.G.A. 48-5-311) The amount of tax is determined by the tax rate (mill rate) levied by various entities (one mill is equal to $1.00 for each $1,000 of assessed value, or .001).

Several distinct entities are involved in the ad valorem tax process:

The State Revenue Commissioner is responsible for examining the tax digests of counties in Georgia in order to determine that property is assessed uniformly and equally between and within the counties (O.C.G.A. 48-5-340). In addition, the State levies ad valorem tax each year in an amount which cannot exceed one-fourth of one mill (.00025).

The Meriwether County, GA Tax Assessor is responsible for the appraisal, assessment, and the equalization of all assessments within the county. They notify taxpayers when changes are made to the value of property, receive and review all appeals filed, and insure that the appeal process proceeds properly. In addition, they accept and approve all Homestead Exemptions claimed by the Taxpayers of Meriwether County.

The Meriwether County, GA Board of Equalization, appointed by the Grand Jury, is the body charged by law with hearing and adjudicating administrative appeals to property values and assessments made by the Board of Tax Assessors.

The Meriwether County, GA Commission establishes the annual budget for county government operations and levies the mill rate necessary to fund the portion of the budget to be paid for by ad valorem tax.

The Meriwether County, GA Board of Education, an elected body, establishes the annual budget for school purposes and adopts the mill rate necessary to fund the portion of the budget to be paid for by ad valorem tax.

The Meriwether County, GA Tax Commissioner, an elected office established by the Constitution, is the official responsible for performing all functions related to billing, collecting, accounting for and disbursing ad valorem taxes collected in this county. The Tax Commissioner also serves as an agent of the State Revenue Commissioner for the registration of motor vehicles. The Tax Commissioner does not set values or the millage rates.

Tax Bills

Property tax bills are normally mailed out by October 1st of each year. Taxes are to be paid by December 20th of the same year.

If you have not received a tax bill by October 15th, please contact our office.

Tax Returns

In accordance with Georgia law, all property held and subject to taxation on January 1 of the tax year, shall be returned by the owner to the Tax Assessor’s Office between January 1 and April 1 of that tax year. Any taxpayer who fails to return his property for taxation shall be deemed to have returned for taxations the same property at the same final valuation as and same real property exemptions as for the preceding year. A property owner who is dissatisfied with the assessed value of their property may also file a return stating their opinion of the true Fair Market Value of the property as of January 1 of the tax year. This will establish appeal right if the value is changed again by the Tax Assessor’s Office.

Assessment Appeals

The Meriwether County, GA Board of Assessors’ appraisal staff determines your property values based on recent sales and market conditions. These values are based on the condition of the property as of January 1st of the tax year. The Board of Tax Assessors is required to issue a notice of assessment for taxable real and personal property which states the value of said property. These notices are generally mailed in the Spring of each year.

If the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the value placed on the property, the taxpayer has the right to appeal this value within 45 days of the date of the notice. The appeal may be based on taxability, value, uniformity, and/or the denial of an exemption. The written appeal must initially be filed with the Board of Tax Assessors and must state their chosen method of appeal.

Additional information on assessment appeals may be obtained from the Tax Assessors’ Office.

The address to submit appeals:
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Board of Tax Assessors,
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp PO Box 187,
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Greenville, GA 30222

For further information regarding property taxation in Georgia, please visit the State of Georgia Local Government Services Division website.

Homestead Exemptions

Homestead exemptions have been enacted to reduce the burden of ad valorem taxation for Georgia homeowners. The exemptions apply to homestead property owned by the taxpayer and occupied as his or her legal residence. Homestead exemptions are deducted from the assessed value of the qualifying property (40% of the fair market value).

The homestead of each residence of the State of Georgia actually occupied as a residence and homestead on January 1 of the tax year may be exempted from certain ad valorem taxation providing the exemption is returned and claimed in the manner prescribed by law and approved by the County Board of Assessors.

To receive the benefit of the homestead exemption, the taxpayer must file an initial application. The application is filed with the Meriwether County Tax Assessors Office. First time homeowners need to bring a copy of their warranty deed to ensure their application is filed correctly. With respect to all of the homestead exemptions, the Tax Assessor makes the final determination as to eligibility; however, if the application is denied the taxpayer must be notified and an appeal procedure is then available to the taxpayer. Driver's licenses must have the current Meriwether County physical address. A post office box is not acceptable.

You can click on this link to the Georgia Department of Revenue website page titled - Property Tax Homestead Exemption or you can pick up a copy of the exemption application at the Tax Assessors Office. You can also find additional information on that website.

Once granted, the homestead exemption is automatically renewed each year and the taxpayer does not have to apply again unless there is a change of residence, ownership, or the taxpayer seeks to qualify for a different kind of exemption.

  • Standard Homestead Exemption
    The Standard Homestead Exemption is available to all homeowners who otherwise qualify by ownership and residency requirements, and it is an amount equal to $2,000 which is deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property. The exemption applies to the maintenance and operation portion of the mill rate levy of the county and the county school system and the State mill rate levy. It does not apply to the portion of the mill rate levied to retire bonded indebtedness.
  • 65 & Older Homestead Exemption
    If you qualify for one of the other homestead exemptions listed and are age 65 or older as of January 1, you also qualify for an exemption from the State portion of ad valorem taxes in an amount equal to 100% of the value of your home and up to 10 acres of land. The value of any additional land or improvements on the same parcel will be granted the standard maximum exemption of the homestead exemption for which you otherwise qualify.
  • 62 & Older Exemption of School Taxes
    (Individuals 62 years of age and older may claim additional exemption for educational purposes. Individuals 62 years of age or over that are residents of each independent school district and of each county school district may claim an additional exemption from all ad valorem taxes for educational purposes and to retire school bond indebtedness if the income of that person and his spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year. Income from retirement sources, pensions, and disability income is excluded up to the maximum amount allowed to be paid to an individual and his spouse under the federal Social Security Act. The social security maximum benefit for 2019 is $68,664. The owner must notify the county tax commissioner if for any reason they no longer meet the requirements for this exemption. This exemption may not exceed $10,000 of the homestead's assessed value. (O.C.G.A. §48-5-52)
  • Inflation Proof Exemption
    Floating Inflation-Proof Exemption Individuals 62 years of age or over may obtain a floating inflation-proof county homestead exemption, except for taxes to pay interest on and to retire bonded indebtedness, based on natural increases in the homestead's value. If the appraised value of the home has increased by more than $10,000, the owner may benefit from this exemption. Income, together with spouse or any other person residing in the house cannot exceed $30,000. This exemption does not affect any municipal or educational taxes and is meant to be used in the place of any other county homestead exemption. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-47.1)
  • Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption
    The Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption is available to certain disabled veterans in the amount up to $50,000 deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property. This exemption applies to all ad valorem tax levies; however, it is restricted to certain types of very serious disabilities (that are service-connected disabilities) and proof of disability, either from the Veterans Administration or from a private physician in certain circumstances, which may be necessary.
  • Surviving Spouse of Veteran Exemption
    A similar exemption to the Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption, in the same amount is now available to the un-remarried surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces of the United States who was killed in any war or armed conflict engaged in by the United States. The surviving spouse must furnish appropriate documentation that spousal benefits are received as a result of the death of the armed forces member.
  • Surviving Spouse of Fire Fighter or Peace Officer
    The Un-remarried Surviving Spouse of a Fire Fighter or Peace Officer shall be granted total exemption from all ad valorem taxes levied if such person’s spouse, who as a member of a qualified Fire Department or Peace Officer Agency, was killed or died as a result of injury in the performance of their duty. Documents from the agency must be provided.

MERIWETHER COUNTY EXEMPTIONS
  • Homestead Valuation Freeze Exemption
    The Constitution of Georgia allows counties to enact local homestead exemptions. Meriwether County has implemented an exemption that will freeze the valuation of property at the base year valuation for as long as the homeowner resides on the property. Even as property values continue to rise the homeowner's taxes will be based upon the base year valuation. This exemption may be for county taxes, school taxes, and/or municipal taxes, and in some counties age and income restrictions may apply. In some counties the law may allow for the base year valuation to be increased by a certain percentage each year.

Mobile Homes

All mobile homes in Meriwether County are required to have a current decal visibly posted by April 1st of each year. These decals are issued upon receipt of tax payment. If you pay in person, your decal will be issued immediately. If you choose another method of payment, your decal will be mailed to you when payment is received.

Registration of Mobile Homes:
If you need to register a Mobile Home to Meriwether County - this Link will take you to the Meriwether County Building and Zoning office which is located next to the Tax Commissioner's office.

Currently Building and Zoning are handling all license and permitting by appointment only. Please call 706-672-1283 to set your appointment.

Purchasing a Mobile Home
If you just purchased or transferred ownership of a mobile home, you must apply for a title to the home in you name within 30 days of purchase. You must provide a current paid tax receipt and proof of ownership before your title application will be processed. If there is a lien on the mobile home, most lien holders will apply for the new title.

Personal Property

Personal Property includes boats and motors, tractors, farm equipment, and machinery. Furniture, fixtures, equipment, inventory, and supplies are also personal property for businesses. Ownership of personal property is established January 1 of each year. Appraisers from the Tax Assessor's Office place values on personal property and mail notices in May of each year. Disputed values must be appealed within 45 days. This appeal must be in writing. The Tax Commissioner's Office will mail the personal property tax bill at least 60 days prior to the due date, which is usually mid-November of each year. Ninety (90) days after a bill becomes delinquent, a lien (Fi Fa) is recorded with the Clerk of Superior Court.

Business Personal Property (Furniture / Fixture/ Equipment)
If a business closes or the property was sold after January 1 of the current tax year, the tax is due. Taxes are assessed as of January 1 for the entire tax year. If the property closed or sold after January 1, you must notify the Board of Tax Assessors.

Boats
Boats must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and are taxed annually based on their value. Assessment notices are mailed in May of each year. There is an appeal period of 45 days, after which a tax bill is mailed. Taxes are due November 15th. Please contact the Assessor's Office with any questions about your boat value, and contact DNR with any questions about boat registration.
The Boat Registration Form can be downloaded from the DNR website, or picked up at boat

Heavy Duty

Heavy duty equipment purchased from a dealer by an individual or business is subject to ad valorem tax in the year of purchase. Within 30 days of the end of the month in which the purchase was made, a return must be completed and submitted to the Tax Commissioner. Tax is computed based on 40% of the purchase price, times the millage rate, times 33 1/3%, and is then prorated for the number of months remaining in the calendar year.

Timber

Beginning January 1, 1992, all timber harvests or sales must be reported on Department of Revenue form PT-283T. There are three different reports of timber tax:

  • Single Lump Sum Sale of Timber
    A lump sum sale is one where the total price paid for the timber is paid all at once, normally up front. The purchaser of the timber must remit the taxes and the PT-283T form to the Tax Commissioner within 5 business days of purchase.
  • Quarterly Summary of Timber Sold by Unit Price
    A unit price sale is one where the purchaser pays the seller for the timber as it is cut based on volumes of wood harvested. Since these transactions occur at various intervals during the term of the contract, the law does not require a PT-283T report be filed each time payments are made, rather a quarterly report of timber harvested during the quarter is all that is necessary. Purchaser of the timber must complete, sign and submit two copies to seller and one copy to Board of Assessors within 45 days after end of quarter. Seller must sign and submit one of the copies to Tax Assessors within 60 days after end of the quarter. Seller will be billed by the Tax Commissioner for taxes due.
  • Quarterly Summary of Timber Harvested by Owner
    Standing timber that is harvested by the owner of the underlying land must be reported as Owner Harvests.  Owner must complete and submit one copy to Board of Tax Assessors within 45 days after the end of the quarter. Owner will be billed by the Tax Commissioner for taxes due.

The PT-283T form can be obtained in the Meriwether County Tax Assessor's Office. The Tax Assessor's telephone number is (706) 672-4222.