As Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I’m not a CPA (thankfully), but I do know a thing or two about taxes… and I mean property taxes. A property tax is a tax assessed on real estate by the local government (counties and cities). See below for a calculation that illustrates the process of determining your tax amount owed:
Market Value x Georgia’s assessment ratio (40%) = Assessed value
Assessed value x mil rate (varies by county/city) = Your tax bill
Market value is a theoretical notion of what your home would sell for in a normal market. This figure is also sometimes determined by the latest market sales price of the home. This amount can and will change, and that’s incredibly important to understand because taxes are calculated into your monthly mortgage payment. We refer to this as PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance). The tax piece of this equation is usually the responsible party in the annual change to your mortgage payment as tax values fluctuate.
In Metro Atlanta, it’s important to take into consideration not only your county tax bill but also your city tax bill. This list is not all-inclusive, but the following areas are subject to additional city taxes:
- Cobb :: Acworth, Marietta, Powder Springs, and Smyrna
- DeKalb :: Atlanta, Brookhaven, Decatur, and Dunwoody
- Fulton :: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Chattahoochee Hills, Johns Creek, Roswell, and Sandy Springs
- Gwinnett :: Duluth, Lawrenceville, and Suwanee
Additionally, your property taxes are a FANTASTIC write-off when it comes time for tax season… and yes, you heard that correctly – property taxes are a tax deductible tax (gotta love the government!). Additionally, there are a few common exemptions to lower your property taxes including Homestead Exemptions, Senior Exemptions, Veterans Exemptions, and Disability Exemptions. Visit your county’s local property tax website for more information on these as well as further information on your county’s millage rate, assessments and more.
Moral of the story :: When looking for homes be sure to take into consideration the property taxes and have a veteran agent on your side to help you understand the full implications of the property taxes for where you live!
Written by Jennie Moshure, Listing Specialist, The Peters Company