Overview of Georgia Taxes
In general, property taxes in Georgia are relatively low. The median real estate tax payment in Georgia is $1,448 per year, about $650 less than the national average. The average effective property tax rate in Georgia is 0.91%.
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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, 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 $1,448 per year, which is around $650 less than the $2,090 national mark. The average effective property tax rate is 0.91%.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that property taxes in Georgia vary greatly between locations. In Fulton County, the median property tax payment is $2,761, the highest in the state. But in Treutlen County, the median property tax payment is just $506. Below, we’ll walk through how Georgia’s property tax system works and look at data on taxes in every Georgia county.
Try 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 important information about mortgages in the Peach State to help you during the homebuying process.
A financial advisor in Georgia can help you understand how homeownership fits into your overall financial goals. Financial advisors can also help with investing and financial plans, including taxes, homeownership, retirement and more, to make sure you are preparing for the future.
Understanding Georgia Property Taxes
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, assessors in each county first appraise every home in the county in order to figure out the market value of each piece of real estate.
They typically do this through mass appraisals that determine the market value of a large number of homes based on factors such as property type and neighborhood. Once they determine the market value, they then apply the Georgia assessment ratio. Nearly every county and city in Georgia uses 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 assessment ratio is 50%.
There are also a number of property tax exemptions in Georgia that can reduce your home's assessed value and, therefore, your taxes. These vary by county. The statewide exemption is $2,000, but it applies only to the statewide property tax, which is a relatively small slice of the overall property taxes in most areas.
Georgia Property Tax Rates
Property tax rates in Georgia are described in mills, which are equal to $1 of taxes for every $1,000 in assessed value. In most counties, taxes for schools are the largest source of property taxes. They are typically between 15 and 20 mills.
Because millage rates apply to assessed value, which varies depending on the 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's useful to look at effective property tax rates. These are the median property taxes paid as a percentage of median home value. They give a good idea as to how much a new homeowner can expect to pay in property taxes.
The table below shows the average effective property tax rate, median annual real estate tax payment and median home value for every county in Georgia.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
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Home to most of the city of Atlanta and some other cities like 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 $2,761 per year. On the other hand, property tax rates in Fulton County are not especially high. The average effective tax rate is 1.03%, lower than the national average by 0.05%.
Millage rates in Fulton County vary a bit depending on where you live. In Atlanta, for example, the total millage rate is 41.4 mills, while unincorporated portions of the county have a 40.38 millage rate.
If you have questions about how property taxes can affect your overall financial plans, a financial advisor in Atlanta can help you out.
Located northeast of Atlanta, Gwinnett County has the 21st highest property tax rate of any county in the state. The county’s effective property tax rate is 1.22%, which comes in 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 and $7,000 for recreation taxes.
DeKalb County contains about 10% of Atlanta's real estate, along with the city of Decatur. The typical homeowner in DeKalb County pays $1,926 annually in property taxes, which is higher than the $1,448 state average, but is still well below what homeowners pay in neighboring Fulton County.
However, home values in DeKalb County are also lower than those in Fulton County. Thus, the effective tax rate of 1.09% in DeKalb County is actually slightly higher than that of Fulton County.
With a population of around 740,000, Cobb County is the third largest county in Georgia. Property tax rates in Cobb County rank among the lowest in the state. The effective property tax rate is just 0.74%, well below the state average of 0.91%. At that rate, a homeowner whose home has a market value of $100,000 would pay just $740 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 on a nationwide basis, but they're a bit pricier than the Georgia state average. The median property tax payment here is $1,806, which is almost $300 cheaper than the $2,090 national average. Despite this, the state average is significantly lower at $1,448.
Clayton County is a mostly suburban area that sits south of the city of Atlanta. The median home value in Clayton County is $89,400, significantly lower than the median values in other Atlanta-area counties like Fulton and DeKalb. The median home values here are $268,900 and $176,000, respectively.
That means property tax payments are also generally lower, though. In fact, the county has a median annual payment of just $977.
However, effective tax rates in Clayton County don't follow the same pattern, as they currently stand at 1.09%. This is identical to the effective rate in DeKalb County, but it's higher than Fulton County's effective rate.
The average effective property tax rate in Cherokee County is just 0.75%, lower than the rate in 152 other Georgia counties. Cherokee County offers a number of property tax exemptions to reduce the tax burden on some homeowners. There are 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 and $159,520 for school taxes.
Henry County is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area and has a population of more than 217,000 residents. The average effective property tax rate in Henry County is 1.02%, higher than 54% of Georgia counties.
Richmond County is virtually synonymous with the city of Augusta, as it's often referred to as Augusta-Richmond County or Augusta. Property tax payments in the county are relatively low, but tax rates are high. The typical homeowner in Richmond County pays a reasonable $1,184 in property taxes annually, but that makes the effective tax rate a fairly expensive 1.18%. The total millage rate in the city of Augusta is 35.73 mills.
Of the 159 counties in Georgia, property tax rates in Muscogee County are lower than 75% of them. The average effective tax rate is 0.88%, well below both state and national averages. The median property tax payment in Muscogee County is $1,239.
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 analyzed the math and reading/language arts proficiencies for every school district in the country. We created an average score for each district by looking at the scores for every school in that district, weighting it to account for the number of students in each school. Within each state, we assigned every county a score between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on the average scores of the districts in each county.
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 2017 American Community Survey, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Police or Justice Department websites