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Property Tax Facts
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Property Tax Facts

  • In Georgia, property taxes play a major role in funding county and city governments and the public school system. Ad valorem taxes, or taxes levied on the basis of value, are determined for real and personal property such as land, buildings and cars.

  • The value assigned to individual property parcels provides a basis for distributing the burden of funding local government expenses. So the procedures used to determine that value are major concerns of property owners.

  • The tax assessor sets values for taxable property. The tax commissioner sends out bills based on those values and collects the taxes.

  • The tax digest equals the sum of all assessments. The state digest increased from $131.7 billion in 1993, to $171.8 billion in 1998. That's a 30.4-percent increase over the six years.

  • Millage equals the county digest or budget. The 1998 average county millage rate of 24.76 mills decreased 1.6 percent from 1997 to 1998. But from '93 to '98, it increased 2.2 percent. One mill is one-tenth of a penny, or $0.001.

  • The tax equals the assessed value times the millage rate. Georgia property tax revenues increased 67.7 percent from $3.1 billion to $5.2 billion from 1993 to 1998.

  • About 57 percent of property taxes goes to fund the school systems. Another 34 percent goes to county governments.

  • In Georgia, all property is subject to ad valorem taxes based on fair market value unless it is specifically exempted by the state constitution or entered into an alternative valuation program.

(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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