Are you a Georgia resident and purchased a primary residence in the past year located in Chatham County? Homestead exemptions can be trick. As your guides to all things local and real estate, we here at Team Callahan get it. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about homestead exemptions and how you can apply for one.
Property owners may apply for exemptions through the website or in-person with the Board of Assessors Office year-round. However, applications must be received by April 1st to receive the exemption for that year. These exemptions apply only to homestead property, which means the owners must own, occupy, and claim the property as their legal residence on January 1st to be eligible.
Once applied for and granted, the exemption shall automatically be renewed from year to year as long as the applicant continuously occupies the residence as a homestead and meets the exemption requirements. However, a new application must be made if the taxpayer bought and occupies a new home, had any type of deed change, or is eligible for a larger exemption. Only one person needs to apply if multiple names appear on the deed. The applicant must be eligible for the exemption applied for.
Homestead exemptions should not be affected by refinancing a mortgage unless the name is changed on the deed. Homestead exemption applicants need to know that any motor vehicle owned by the homeowner must also be registered in Chatham County (must have current and correct address & Georgia driver’s license).
Members of the Armed Services who maintain a legal residence and/or vote in another state are not eligible to claim a homestead exemption. The law specifically requires that the homestead must be the domicile of the owner. Military Personnel who claim homestead exemption are declaring their intention to become Georgia residents and are liable for State income taxes and ad valorem taxes on personal property.
To file for a homestead exemption, the property owner will need to provide the Chatham County Board of Assessor’s Office with the following:
a) A valid Georgia Driver’s License or Georgia ID Card
b) Registration for vehicles owned by the registered in the name of the applicant
As a supplement to the above, staff may also request the following:
c) A prior year utility bill or Chatham County Voter’s Registration card