County Property Tax Facts Muscogee

Table of contents

By viewing the web pages at the Local Government Services Division's website, taxpayers should obtain a general understanding of the property tax laws of Georgia that apply statewide. This page contains local information about a specific county. While every attempt has been made to include everything a taxpayer needs to know, mistakes are possible and taxpayers should contact their local tax officials for verification and clarification of the information found on this page.  

Local Tax Officials

Tax Commissioner

Lula Lunsford Huff
3111 Citizens Way
Columbus, Ga. 31906
(706) 653-4208
Fax: (706) 225-3773
Email: dfloyd@columbusga.org
Website: http://publicaccess.columbusga.org/iaswpub/forms/htmlframe.aspx?mode=co…

Chairman of the Board of Tax Assessors

Chester R. Randolph
3111 Citizens Way
Columbus, Ga. 31906
(706) 653-4398
Fax: (706) 255-3800

Chief Appraiser

Suzanne Widenhouse
3111 Citizens Way
Columbus, Ga. 31906
(706) 653-4398
Fax: (706) 255-3800
Email: widenhoue.suzanne@columbusga.org
Website: http://www.columbusga.org/TaxAssessors/
Property Records: http://www.columbusga.org/TaxAssessors/

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners

Teresa Tomlinson, Mayor
100 Tenth Street, 6th Floor
Columbus, Ga. 31901
(706) 653-4712
Fax: (706) 653-4970
Website: http://www.columbusga.org/mayor
 

Property Tax Returns 

Property tax returns must be filed with the county tax office between January 1 and April 1 of each year. In some counties property tax returns are filed with the county tax commissioner, and in other counties, returns are filed with the county board of tax assessors.  You should check with your county tax office for verification.

Any taxpayer of any county who returned or paid taxes in the county for the preceding tax year and who fails to return his property for taxation for the current tax year shall be deemed to have returned for taxation the same property as was returned in the preceding tax year at the same valuation as the property was finally determined to be subject to taxation in the preceding year. 

Homestead Exemptions 

The following homestead exemptions are offered in this county:

Application for homestead exemption is made with the Tax Commissioner in the county.  A copy of the recorded warranty deed is required to apply.  Failure to apply by the deadline is considered a waiver of the exemption for that year.  This section describes special local homestead exemptions that apply only in this county.  Statewide homestead exemptions are also available and may provide more tax relief depending upon the taxpayer's circumstances.  The following local homestead exemptions are offered in this county:

The Standard Homestead Exemption is available to all homeowners who otherwise qualify by ownership and residency requirements and it is an amount equal to $2,000 on the State portion and $13,500 off assessment on local value, which is deducted from the 40%, assessed value of the homestead property.  The homestead exemption freezes the assessment on the property.  The exemption applies to the maintenance and operation portion of the millage rate levy of the county and the county school system and the State millage rate levy.  It does not apply to the portion of the millage rate levied to retire bonded indebtedness.  (Act 153, 1980)

The Standard Elderly General Homestead Exemption is available to homeowners who otherwise qualify and who are 65 and older where the net income of the applicant and spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the preceding year.  Social Security income and retirement income are calculated in a different category.  This amount varies yearly.  The amount for 2016 was $63,336.  This exemption, which is in an amount up to $4,000 deducted from the State and $21,500 off the 40% assessed value of the homestead property applies to county taxes, school taxes, and the state tax and it does apply to taxes levied to retire bonded indebtedness.  (Act 153, 1980)

The Standard Elderly School Tax Homestead Exemption is an increased homestead exemption for homeowners 62 and older where the net income does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year.  (If gross income is less than $6,000, all school taxes are exempt).  Social Security and retirement income are calculated in a different category.  This amount varies yearly.  The maximum for 2016 is $63,336.  This exemption applies only to school tax, but it does include taxes levied to retire bond indebtedness.  The amount of the exemption cannot exceed $13,500, which is deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property.  (HR 451-1298, 1974)

The Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption is available to certain disabled veterans in an amount up to *50,000 plus deducted on the State portion and $73,768 from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property.  This exemption applies to all ad valorem tax levies; however, it is restricted to certain types of serious disabilities providing proof of disability from the Veteran Administration or from a private physician in certain circumstances.  Disability must be 100%.  (HB 3 983, 1991)

The Unremarried Surviving Spouse Exemption is available to the unremarried surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces who was killed in any war or armed conflict in which the United States was engaged (documentation from Secretary of Defense is required) in an amount up to $*50,000 plus.

The Floating or Varying Homestead Exemption is an exemption that is available to homeowners 62, older with gross household incomes of $30,000, or less.  The exemption applies to state and county ad valorem taxes but it does not apply to school tax.  The exemption is called a floating exemption because the amount of the exemption increases as the value of the homestead property is increased.  However, this exemption replaces any other state and county exemption already in place for the property, taxpayers should be very careful in making application since in many instances the granting of this exemption will initially increase the amount of taxes levied on the property.

Tax Deferral In addition to the various homestead exemptions that are authorized, the law also provides a Property Tax Deferral Program whereby qualified homestead property owners 62 and older with gross household income of $15,000 or less may defer but not exempt the payment of ad valorem taxes on a part of all of the homestead property.  Generally, the tax would be deferred until the property ownership changes or until such time the deferred taxes plus interest reach a level equal to 85% of the fair market value of the property.
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*60,000 Plus an Additional Sum - The additional sum is determined according to an index rate set by United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Homestead Valuation Freeze Exemption - Muscogee County has a constitutional amendment on the valuation of property, which has the same effect as several other counties that have enacted a homestead valuation freeze exemption.  This exemption will freeze the valuation of property at the base year valuation for as long as the homeowner owns and resides on the property.  
 

Freeport Exemptions 

Voters in the county may elect to exempt commercial and industrial inventory. Application for freeport exemption should be made with the board of tax assessors within the same time period that returns are due in the county. Applications filed after that time can receive a partial exemption for that year up to June 1.

Ad Valorem Tax Payments

County and county school ad valorem taxes are collected by the county tax commissioner. Even though the official due date for ad valorem tax payment is December 20th, the local governing authority may adopt a resolution changing the official due date for tax payment to December 1st or November 15th, or may implement installment billing with multiple due dates. You should check with your county tax commissioner's office for verification.

Each taxpayer shall be afforded 60 days from date of postmark of the tax bill to make full payment of taxes due before the interest accrues. In addition to interest, delinquent taxes may accrue penalties on unpaid balances. 

Valuation Appeals

The county board of tax assessors must send an annual notice of assessment which gives the taxpayer information on filing a property tax appeal on real property (such as land and buildings affixed to the land). If the county board of tax assessors disagrees with the taxpayer’s return on personal property (such as airplanes, boats or business equipment and inventory), the board must send a notice of assessment which gives the taxpayer information on filing an appeal. If the taxpayer wishes to appeal the fair market value on the notice of assessment, the appeal must be sent to the board of tax assessors and postmarked no later than 45 days from the mailing date of the notice of assessment.

Ad Valorem Tax Refunds

A taxpayer may make a written request for refund of taxes which are determined to have been erroneously or illegally assessed and collected. Refund claims must be initiated within three years from date of payment. However, in the case of an appealed assessment, any refund must be automatically processed by the tax authorities immediately upon determination of the final taxable value.

Motor Vehicle Registration

Title Ad Valorem Tax - Motor vehicles purchased on or after March 1, 2013, and titled in this State are exempt from sales and use tax and annual ad valorem tax. The taxes are replaced by a one-time tax that is imposed on the fair market value of the vehicle called the Title Ad Valorem Tax Fee(TAVT).

Vehicle Registration - Vehicle owners must renew their registration and pay the ad valorem tax every year with the county tax commissioner during the 30 day period which ends on their birthday. If the vehicle is owned by more than one person, then the birthday of the person's name that appears first on the title is used to determine the registration period. Newly acquired vehicles must be registered within 30 days.

Muscogee County is on the 12-month staggered registration system. 

Mobile Homes

Mobile Home Location Permits - Taxpayers locating a mobile home must apply to the county tax commissioner for a location permit within 30 days of permanent placement of the home in the county and then annually thereafter between January 1 and April 1. Some counties may have assigned location permits to another office.  Please check with your county tax office for verification. 

Mobile homes that are temporarily located in the county and are owned by a business that is not located in the county should notify the board of tax assessors of their presence to avoid being cited for failure to apply for the location permit.

Mobile Home Returns - Owners of mobile homes that are located in the county on January 1 must return the mobile home for taxation to the county tax commissioner on or before April 1 of each year at the same time they apply for the location permit. 

Intangible Recording 

Every holder of a long-term note secured by real estate must have the security instrument recorded in the county where the real estate is located within 90 days. The tax for recording the note is at the rate of $1.50 for each $500.00 or fractional part of the face amount of the note. In most counties the Clerk of Superior Court is responsible for collecting intangible recording tax, and in others, the county tax commissioner collects

Municipal Tax Payments

Municipal governing authorities also levy ad valorem tax and the city clerk is responsible for billing and collecting the city tax. In some counties, the municipal and county governments have entered an agreement to have the county tax commissioner collect all taxes in a single billing. In all counties, only the county tax commissioner is authorized to collect tax on motor vehicles.

 

This webpage is a service provided by the Georgia Department of Revenue, Local Government Services Division. Comments or questions about this page should be directed to Local Government Services.

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Information on this page was current as of 04/08/2016.