April 1 is the deadline for accepting applications for homestead exemptions for tax year 2016. Applications can be accepted year-round, but those received after April 1 will be applied to 2017 taxes.
Bryan County homeowners may file at either tax commissioner office — 11 N. Courthouse St. in Pembroke or 66 Capt. Matthew Freeman Drive, Suite 102A, in Richmond Hill.
An applicant for homestead exemption must own and occupy the home as of Jan. 1, 2016. It must be occupied as a permanent residence and place of abode and must be the legal residence of the applicant for all purposes. This exemption may be claimed on one residence only. 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 ownership or the taxpayer seeks to qualify for a different kind of exemption.
Bryan County offers generous local homestead exemptions compared to many other counties in Georgia, Tax Commissioner Carrol Ann Coleman said. Qualifying applicants receive an exempted amount of $30,000 off the assessed value from county taxes. In Bryan County, the assessed value is 40 percent of the property’s appraised value. In general, this regular homestead exemption saves taxpayers approximately $275 in annual property taxes.
Bryan County’s most beneficial homestead exemption is offered to senior citizens age 65 and older. Qualifying seniors receive an exempted amount of $50,000 off of the assessed value from school, county and city property taxes. In general, the senior homestead exemption saves qualified taxpayers approximately $1,200 in annual property taxes. To qualify, the applicant must be 65 years old as of Jan. 1, 2016. Proof of age is required, i.e., copy of driver’s license or birth certificate.
Other exemptions may be available for taxpayers such as the Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption, the unmarried widow or widower of a disabled veteran, or the surviving spouse of a peace officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty.
The applications for the homestead exemptions are received by the Office of the Tax Commissioner; however, the approval or denial of the exemption is determined by the Board of Tax Assessors. If the application is denied, the taxpayer must be notified, and an appeal procedure is available.
If you have questions concerning any of these exemptions, call the tax commissioner’s Pembroke office at 912-653-3880 or the Richmond Hill office at 912-756-2434.