Overview of Georgia Taxes
In general, property taxes in Georgia are relatively low. The median real estate tax payment in Georgia is $1,425 per year, about $600 less than the national average. The average effective property tax rate is0.94%.
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To calculate the exact amount of property tax you will owe requires your property's assessed value and the property tax rates based on your property's address. Please note that we can only estimate your property tax based on median property taxes in your area. There are typically multiple rates in a given area, because your state, county, local schools and emergency responders each receive funding partly through these taxes. In our calculator, we take your home value and multiply that by your county's effective property tax rate. This is equal to the median property tax paid as a percentage of the median home value in your county.
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Jennifer Mansfield Tax
Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
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Georgia Property Taxes
If you’re thinking about buying a home in Georgia, it’s smart to get some idea of what your property taxes will be. In general, property taxes in the Peach State are relatively low. The median real estate tax payment in Georgia is $1,425 per year, about $600 less than the national average. The average effective property tax rate is 0.94%. It’s also smart to familiarize yourself with the details of getting a mortgage in Georgia if you plan on using one to purchase your new home. Our mortgage guide provides the most important information about mortgages in the Peach State to help you during the homebuying process.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that property taxes in Georgia vary greatly between locations. In Fulton County the median property tax payment is $2,756, highest in the state. In Wheeler County, the median property tax payment is just $443. Below, we’ll walk through how Georgia’s property tax system works and look at data on taxes in every Georgia County.
Understanding Georgia Property Taxes: Assessed Values
The amount of property taxes you pay in Georgia depends on the assessed value of your home, which is based on (but not equal to) your home’s market value. To determine assessed value county assessors in each county first appraise every home in the county in order to determine the market value of every property.
This is typically done through mass appraisals that determine market value of a large number of homes based on factors such as property type and neighborhood. Once market value is determined the Georgia assessment ratio is applied. Nearly every county and city in Georgia use an assessment ratio of 40%. That means that if your home’s market value is $100,000, the assessed value is $40,000.
A small number of cities in Georgia use assessment ratios other than 40%, including Decatur where the ratio used is 50%.
There are also a number of property tax exemptions in Georgia that reduce assessed value and therefore taxes. These vary by county. The statewide exemption is $2,000, but applies only to the statewide property tax, which is a relatively small slice of overall property taxes in any area.
Georgia Property Tax Rates
Property tax rates in Georgia are described as mills, which are equal to $1 of taxes for every $1,000 in assessed value. The state mill rate is just 0.1 mills. In most counties, the largest source of property taxes are taxes for schools, which are typically between 15 and 20 mills.
Because millage rates apply to assessed value, which varies depending on assessment ratio and the local exemptions offered, it can be difficult to compare millage rates between two locations. For an apples-to-apples comparison, it is useful to look at effective property tax rates. These are the median propertytaxes paid as a percentage of median home value. They give a pretty good idea of how much a new homeowner can expect to pay as a percentage of home value.
The table below shows the average effective property tax rate, the median annual real estate tax payment and the median home value for every county in Georgia.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
Home to most of the city of Atlanta and some outlying cities including Sandy Springs, Fulton County is the most populous county in Georgia. Homeowners in Fulton County pay the highest property taxes in dollar terms, with the median property tax payment equaling $2,756 per year. On the other hand, property tax rates in Fulton County are not especially high. The average effective tax rate is 1.16%, lower than the national average.
Rates will vary significantly depending on where in the county you live. In Atlanta, for example, the most recent total millage rate is 45.34 mills, while in unincorporated portions of Fulton County the rate is just 30.65 mills.
Located northeast of Atlanta, Gwinnett County has the third highest property tax rate of any county in the state. The county’s effective property tax rate is 1.27%, above both state and national averages.
Many homeowners in Gwinnett County may be able to reduce their property taxes by claiming property tax exemptions. For example, the homestead exemption is available on owner-occupied primary residences. It reduces the assessed value of a home by $10,000 for county taxes, $4,000 for school taxes, $7,000 for recreation taxes and $2,000 for the state tax.
DeKalb County contains about 10% of Atlanta, as well as the city of Decatur. The typical homeowner in DeKalb County pays $1,979 annually in property taxes, higher than the state average, but well below what is paid in neighboring Fulton County.
However, home values in DeKalb County are also lower than those in Fulton County. Thus, the effective tax rate of 1.17% in DeKalb County is actually slightly higher than that in Fulton County.
With a population of around 700,000, Cobb County is the 4th largest county in Georgia. Property tax rates in Cobb County rank among the lowest in the state. The effective property tax rate is 0.86%, well below the state average. At that rate, a homeowner whose home has a market value of $100,000 would pay just $860 annually in property taxes.
Chatham County sits on the Atlantic Coast and contains the city of Savannah. Property taxes in Chatham County are relatively low, especially as compared with national averages. For example, the median annual real estate tax payment in Chatham County is just $1,529, nearly $600 lower than the national average.
Clayton County is a suburban county south of Atlanta. The median home value in Clayton County is around $100,000, significantly lower than the home value in other Atlanta-area counties like Fulton and DeKalb. That means property tax payments are also lower, with a median annual payment of just $1,130 in Clayton County. However, the effective tax rate is 1.16%, nearly identical to the effective tax rate in DeKalb County.
The average effective property tax rate in Cherokee County is just 0.87%, lower than the rate in 103 other Georgia Counties. Cherokee County offers a number of property tax exemptions to reduce the burden of taxes on some homeowners. There are a number of exemptions available to elderly people, including the double homestead exemption. For eligible homeowners, this reduces the assessed value of a home by $5,000 for county taxes, $4,000 for state taxes and $153,400 for school taxes.
Henry County is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area and has a population of around 200,000 people. The average effective property tax rate in Henry County is 1.17%, 12th highest in the state of Georgia.
Richmond County is consolidated with the city of Augusta and is often referred to as Augusta-Richmond County, or Augusta. Property taxes in the county are relatively low. The typical homeowner in Richmond County pays $1,079 annually in property taxes, making the effective tax rate 1.07%. The most recent total millage rate in Augusta-Richmond County is 31.095 mills.
Property tax rates in Muscogee County are lower than in all but 13 other Georgia counties (out of a total of 159). The average effective tax rate is 0.70%, well below both state and national averages. The median property tax payment in Muscogee County is less than $1,000 a year. The average amount of property taxes paid per year by a Muscogee County homeowner is $932.
Property Tax: Which Counties are Getting the Best Bang for Their Buck
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places across the country where property tax dollars are being spent most effectively. Zoom between states and the national map to see the counties getting the biggest bang for their property tax buck.
Our study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most for their property tax dollars. To do this we looked at school rankings, crime rates and property taxes for every county.
As a way to measure the quality of schools, we calculated the average math and reading/language arts proficiencies for all the school districts in the country. Within each state, these schools were then ranked between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on those average scores.
For each county, we calculated the violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Using the school and crime numbers, we calculated a community score. This is the ratio of the school rank to the combined crime rate per 100,000 residents.
We used the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate to calculate a per capita property tax collected for each county.
Finally, we calculated a tax value by creating a ratio of the community score to the per capita property tax paid. This shows us the counties in the country where people are getting the most bang for their buck, or where their property tax dollars are going the furthest.
Sources: US Census Bureau 2016 American Community Survey, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Police or Justice Department websites