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ABOUT US | NEWSROOM | LIVING IN DEKALB | DOING BUSINESS WITH DEKALB | VISITING DEKALB
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  Frequently Asked Questions
Tax Commissioner
 
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layout graphic DeKalb County > Tax Commissioner > Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

Information Concerning Property
Inquiries for Paying Taxes Online

General Property Questions
What is the current year millage rate?
When will I receive my property tax bill?
When are my property tax payments due?
What if I miss the deadline for my tax payment?
Where can I find a definition for some of the terms on my tax bill?
Is there a limit to the amount of property taxes I can pay when paying online?
Where do I mail my tax payment?
How is my temporary value calculated while under appeal?
What is the Property Assessment Freeze?
How is Interest Calculated when Taxes are Appealed?


Sanitation
Why does the Tax Commissioner bill sanitation?
What is the cost of sanitation in DeKalb County?

Exemptions
As a DeKalb County property owner, am I eligible for special tax exemptions?

How can I let the Tax Commissioner's Office know about an undeserved homestead exemption?

Tax Sales
Does the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner conduct tax sales?

Locations To Serve You
Where can I pay my bill in person?

Reviewing Your Property Info
Will I be charged for reviewing information about my property?
What type of online information is available about my property?
Can other people view my property information?

Property Assessment
Where can I find information about the assessed value of my property?
What is the relationship between the Tax Commissioner's office and the Property Appraisal Department?
How do I appeal?

General Property Questions

What is the current year millage rate?
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The millage rate is established by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in July. To obtain the 2013 millage rate click here.
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When will I receive my property tax bill?
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Property tax bills are mailed during July of each year to the owner of record as of January 1 st. A tax bill will be mailed to the new owner of the property if a deed change occurred after the first of the year. Depending upon when the property was transferred, the new owner should contact their closing attorney, mortgage company or other escrow agent, or review their closing statement to determine who is responsible for paying the taxes. However, unpaid taxes continue to accrue against the property.
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When are my property tax payments due?
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The installment due dates for DeKalb County taxes are September 30th and November 15th. If you choose to pay the full amount in one payment, it must be paid by September 30 th.

The City of Atlanta has one installment, which is due by October 15 th.
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What if I miss the deadline for my tax payment?
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There is a 5% penalty for late payment of the 1st or 2nd installment if the envelope is not postmarked by the September 30 th or November 15th due dates. If you mail your payment on time, but the post office fails to postmark it by those dates, it will be considered a late payment. Please make sure that your envelope is hand canceled by the Post Office if mailing near or on the deadline. Office meter dates are not accepted. Our website will not accept payments after midnight on the deadline until after late fees have been added.
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If the City of Atlanta taxes are not paid by October 15 th, interest accrues at 1% per month beginning on October 16 th. Any parcel with an unpaid balance January 1st, 2013.  90 days after the payment deadline, will receive a 10% penalty.
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Where can I find a definition for some of the terms on my tax bill?
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Check the online Glossary section for a definition of terms on your tax bill.
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Is there a limit to the amount of property taxes I can pay when paying online?
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No. Our online payment system is equipped to accept all payments regardless of size.
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Where do I mail my tax payment?
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Please mail tax payments to:

Claudia G. Lawson
DeKalb County Tax Commissioner
PO Box 100004
Decatur, GA 30031-7004
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Sanitation

Why does the Tax Commissioner bill sanitation?
Beginning in the year 2002, residential sanitation assessments have been billed and collected by the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner. You no longer receive quarterly notices from DeKalb County Treasury and Accounting Services. The annual sanitation assessment appears as a line item on your annual property tax statement that is mailed from the Tax Commissioner's Office in August of each year. The sanitation assessment is included in the total on your tax bill and is payable according to the installment due dates for taxes (September 30 th and November 15 th).
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What is the cost of sanitation in DeKalb County?
The basic annual sanitation assessment for a single-family residential property is $265.00.
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Exemptions


As a DeKalb County property owner, am I eligible for special tax exemptions?

Homestead exemptions provide a significant reduction in annual property taxes and are available to individuals who own and reside in a home in DeKalb County. The property must be the legal residence for all purposes (including filing of Federal and State income taxes, registering any owned or lease vehicles, registering to vote, etc.) on January 1 of each year to qualify for or retain an exemption. Only private residences are eligible for an exemption - at their primary residence. Once an exemption has been granted, it remains in place as long as the applicant continues to reside on the property, or until a different exemption is applied for and received. Homestead exemptions are not transferable if an applicant moves to another residence. You may check your exemption status by reviewing your property information.

Homestead exemption applications are accepted year-round. Current year exemptions must be applied for January 2 nd and April 1 st. Applications received after April 1 st will be processed for the following year. Special exemptions are available for citizens 62 years of age and older, disabled veterans, and other disabled residents. Applicant(s) for senior or disability exemptions must apply in person and present copies of the previous year’s Federal and State income tax returns, any Social Security Form 1099s, proof of age and/or proof of 100% total and permanent disability.

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Basic Homestead
Basic Homestead is an exemption you may claim against the taxable value of your home as long as you own and occupy that home as your primary residence on January 1 of the year in which the exemption is being claimed. There are no age or income requirements for this exemption.

All homeowners seeking a homestead exemption are required to file an application. Application is not automatic. Neither your mortgage company nor closing attorney may file the application when a home is purchased. A homestead application can be obtained from the Tax Commissioner's Office. It may be returned by mail as long as it is postmarked no later than April 1 st. You may request a homestead exemption application via e-mail by clicking on proptax@dekalbcountyga.gov or you may also apply on-line by
clicking here.

Property Assessment Freeze
Residents in DeKalb County that receive the benefit of homestead exemption may also apply for a property assessment freeze to help offset future increases in property value. This freeze does not affect school, city or state taxes. Residents who currently have homestead exemption must apply for this freeze, however new applicants applying for exemption will receive the benefit of the freeze with their exemption. Once the Freeze Level is set, it cannot be "re-frozen" at a lower level regardless of changes in assessment. Residents must qualify for this freeze by April 1st.

How is my temporary value calculated while under appeal?
2014 TEMPORARY BILLING VALUE:
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING TEMPORARY BILLING VALUE FOR PARCELS UNDER APPEAL - PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AS THE LAW HAS CHANGED EFFECTIVE 2014.

If you file an appeal and it is not resolved at the time of the mailing of the tax bill, you will be mailed a tax bill based on a temporary value. There are options for calculating the Temporary Value:

    Option 1: The Temporary Value is determined by the lesser of your last final value OR 85% of the Current Year Value, unless there were capital improvements to the property, in which case it will be 85% of the Current Year Value.

    Option 1-A: If the property is non-homesteaded and valued at over $2 million you may elect to be billed at 85% as defined above, OR, you may elect to pay the 85% tax bill and the amount of difference between the 85% tax bill and the last final tax bill. The difference will be held in an escrow account by the Tax Commissioner. Upon resolution of the appeal, this difference will be released by the Tax Commissioner to the prevailing party.

    Option 2: At the time of your appeal you may specify to us that you want to be billed at 100% of the Current Value, if no substantial property improvement has occurred.

    NOTE: If at the time of your appeal you do not specify to us your preference as to the Temporary Value, we will use Option 1.

    Any difference created by the resolution of your appeal will be refunded or re-billed with interest, if applicable. Interest applies to appeal differences settled after November 15. Interest is capped at $150 for homestead exempted properties, and at $5000 for non-homestead exempted properties.

How is Interest Calculated when Taxes are Appealed?
In accordance with Ga. Code 48-5-311(e)(6),if an assessment appeal is filed and it has not been resolved by the time the tax bills are mailed, you will be billed at a temporary value. Any difference created by the resolution of your appeal will result in your being billed for the balance due or you will receive a refund. Interest applies to appeal differences settled after November 15 th. For details regarding the temporary value, please visit www.dekalbcountyga.gov/propappr

Disabled Veteran or Widow(er)
If you are a disabled veteran, un-remarried spouse of a disabled veteran or un-remarried spouse of a veteran killed in action, you may qualify for a Disabled Veteran/Spousal exemption which will provide additional savings on your property tax bill. These exemptions must be applied for in person. Please be prepared to provide a letter of adjudication or other documentation regarding disability or widow(er) status. If disabled, disability must be 100% permanent and total. If 65 or older, please provide income information, as additional savings may be available.

Exemption for Un-Remarried Spouse of Peace Officers and Firefighters Killed in the Line of Duty
Provides an exemption for the un-remarried surviving spouse of a peace officer or Firefighter who was killed in the line of duty for all ad valorem property taxes. This will not affect any special assessments assigned to the property (sanitation, stormwater, or streetlights, etc.). This exemption must be applied for in person.

Disabled
If you are 100% totally and permanently disabled and meet certain income requirements you may qualify for the Disabled Exemption, which will provide additional reductions in your property tax bill.

Senior Citizen
Effective January 1 st, 2007, if you are 65 years of age or older, you are eligible to be exempt from state ad valorem property taxes. This is independent of any other senior exemptions that may be in place. Additionally, this exemption does not affect county, school, or city taxes.

70 years of age or older
If you are 70 years of age or older on January 1 st and the Federal Adjusted Gross Income (based on previous year's tax return), plus municipal bonds, of both you and your spouse, does not exceed $82,708, you may be entitled to the Special School Tax Exemption. (H9)

65 years of age or older
If you are 65 years of age or older on January 1st and the Total Georgia Net Income of both you and your spouse does not exceed $10,000 (based on previous year's tax return) excluding Social Security benefits and most retirement income up to the maximum allowable under the Federal Social Security Act ($31,704 for an individual or $63,408 for joint applicants for 2013), then you may be entitled to a Senior School Exemption. (H4)

Or, if you are 65 years of age or older on January 1st and the Total Georgia Net Income of the household does not exceed $15,000 (based on previous year's tax return), excluding Social Security benefits and most retirement income up to the maximum allowable under the Federal Social Security Act ($31,704 for an individual or $63,408 for joint applicants for 2013), then you may be entitled to a Senior Homestead Exemption. (H6)

Or, if you are 65 years of age or older and the Gross Income of the household does not exceed $16,000 (based on previous year's tax return), you may be entitled to a Senior Partial School Exemption. (H8)

62 years of age or older
If you are 62 years of age or older on January 1st and the Georgia Net Income of your household does not exceed $10,000 (based on previous year's tax return) excluding Social Security benefits and most retirement income up to the maximum allowable under the Federal Social Security Act ($31,704 for an individual or $$63,408 for joint applicants for 2013), then you may be entitled to the Senior Homestead and School Tax Exemption. (H3)

Or, If you are 62 years of age or older on January 1st and the Gross Income of your household does not exceed $16,000 (based on previous year's tax return), you may be entitled to a Partial School Exemption. (H7)

For more information regarding County exemptions Click here

Other Local Exemptions
City of Atlanta - exemptions are granted along with County exemption

City of Avondale - local exemptions are not awarded

City of Brookhaven - Exemptions are granted along with the County exemptions

  • Basic homestead exemption of $20,000 plus city assessment freeze (if applicable)
  • Senior Exemption (age 65 and meeting County requirements) receive $34,000 plus city assessment freeze (if applicable)
City of Chamblee - The basic homestead exemption is granted along with County exemption. Elderly exemptions are applied for with the City of Chamblee.
  • Basic homestead exemption of $30,000 off assessed value
  • Elderly residents 65 and older and disabled residents that are 100% disabled can receive a 100% exemption from ad valorem taxes
City of Clarkston - seniors age 65 may apply for additional $20,000 exemption from the assessed value of their property when they qualify for homestead exemption.

City of Decatur - exemptions are applied for with the City of Decatur

City of Doraville - exemptions are awarded along with the county exemptions
  • Basic homestead exemption of $25,000
  • Elderly residents age 70 and older can receive 100% city tax exemption
City of Dunwoody -
  • Basic exemption - $10,000 off assessed value plus a 1 mill reduction off assessed value
  • Senior exemption - age 65 with $15,000 or less GA NET income - $14,000 plus a 1 mill reduction off assessed value
City of Lithonia - city exemptions are awarded with the county exemptions
  • Basic homestead exemption of $2,000 off assessed value
  • . Elderly residents 65 and older and 100% disabled residents with net income less than $4,000 can receive an additional exemption of $2,000 off assessed value
City of Pine Lake - exemption is granted along with County exemption
  • Basic homestead exemption of $4,000 off assessed value
City of Stone Mountain - local exemptions are applied for with the City of Stone Mountain
  • Elderly residents age 62 or older with an income of less than $10,000 can receive an exemption of $20,000 off assessed value for city operations


How can I let the Tax Commissioner's Office know about an undeserved homestead exemption?

A homestead exemption is available to a resident who owned and resided in a property on January 1 st of the calendar year in which they claimed the exemption. If they moved out at any point of the year after that date, they are still eligible to retain the exemption. However, if the property was rental on that date or vacant, then the owners were ineligible to maintain the exemption. If you know of such a property, please feel free to call us at 404-298-4000 or let our office know of this by email at proptax@dekalbcountyga.gov We will investigate the situation further.

Tax Sales

Does the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner conduct tax sales?

A tax lien attaches to the property at its valuation on January 1 st of each year; (O.C.G.A. 48-2-56). A tax lien against real property is superior to all other liens and encumbrances and has priority over the title and operation of a security deed. The lien is released by paying the tax charged against it. On December 31 st (O.C.G.A. 48-3-3) of each year the Tax Commissioner must issue an execution of Fieri Facias (commonly known as a tax Fi. Fa.) against all delinquent taxpayers. Executions direct the levying officer to levy on the property to satisfy taxes owed the state, county, and schools. It is the duty of that person to enforce an execution by either collection or levy and sale.

Tax sales are held each month, generally from April through December. Sales are scheduled on the first Tuesday of any given month on the Courthouse steps at 11:00am. Notice of the sale is published once a week for four weeks immediately preceding the sale in the legal organ (newspaper) for the county, which is presently The Champion. We do not have a mailing list for our tax sales; however, if you are interested in what properties are being sold, you should contact The Champion Newspaper at (404) 373-7779, or by mail at: Legal Advertising, The Champion Newspaper, P O Box 3615000, Decatur, GA 30036-1500.

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Bidding commences with the total of taxes and costs (levy, recording, advertising and commissions) on each parcel, with the property being sold to the highest bidder for cash or cashier’s check. If no bids are received, then the County may bid in the property at taxes and costs.

While the successful bidder receives a tax deed, he has no immediate control over the property. The taxpayer or any other person having a right, title, interest in, or lien upon the property may redeem it at any time within twelve (12) months from the date of the sale or up until such time that the right of redemption is foreclosed by paying the redemption price to the tax sale purchaser. The purchaser is not entitled to rents and/or profits arising from the property during redemption period.

The redemption price is the amount paid for the tax deed at the tax sale plus any taxes subsequently paid by the tax deed purchaser plus 20% of that amount for each year or fraction of a year elapsing between the date of the sale and the date of redemption.

Twelve months after the date of the sale the purchaser may begin to forever bar the right of redemption by having proper notice served upon the taxpayer, occupant (if any) and upon all persons having recorded any right, title, interest in, or lien on the property in the county where the property is located in accordance with O.C.G.A. 48-4-45 through 48-4-48. An additional 20% may be charged upon service of notice. Thus a minimum time of one year and forty-five days elapses between acquisition of the tax deed and the right to physical control of the property.

Even though the purchaser receives defeasible title before the redemption period expires, he acquires sufficient interest in the property to make a return on the property after January 1 st the following year (if still unredeemed) and also to be liable for taxes due on it the following year.

A recent Georgia Supreme Court Decision has rendered “ripening by prescription” (O.C.G.A. 48-4-48) inapplicable to tax sale purchases in most cases. The Court determined that actual possession of the property is necessary for a tax deed to convey fee simple title to the property absent the process of barring or foreclosing the right of redemption. However, the worth of a tax title is subject to many factors. To ensure your rights you should consult a knowledgeable real estate attorney.

Locations to Serve You

Where can I pay my bill in person?
There are three offices where you can pay your property tax bill in person:

Will I be charged for reviewing information about my property?
There is no charge for reviewing tax information about an individual property.

What type of online information is available about my property?
Information on your tax district, zoning and property class, last sold price, and amount due are all available using this site. click to
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Can other people view my property information?
Like all public records, all property tax information is available to any individual or company that wishes to review it.

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Property Assessment

Where can I find information about the assessed value of my property?
The Property Appraisal Department is responsible for the appraisal and assessment of property. You can visit its Web Site for more information regarding property appraisal in DeKalb County. You may also contact the Property Appraisal office at (404) 371-0841.

What is the relationship between the Tax Commissioner's office and the Property Appraisal Department?
According to state law, the Property Appraisal Department is responsible for the appraisal and assessment of property. The Tax Commissioner's office is responsible for billing and collection of taxes based on assessments. The Tax Commissioner has no authority over the amount of assessment, and is not involved in the appraisal process.

How do I appeal?
The Property Appraisal Department will mail an Annual Assessment Notice to you in May of each year. When you receive the Notice you will have 45 days to file an appeal if you disagree with the "Current Year Value" displayed on the Notice. Complete instructions for filing an appeal are included with the Notice.

 
 
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