Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tax news round-up

In his state of the county address last week, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis said that an increase in DeKalb County’s property tax rates may be necessary. (See articles here, here, and view Ellis’s full speech here.)

It’s important to emphasize here that the City of Decatur prepares its own budget, adopts its own millage rates, and bills for property taxes completely separately from DeKalb County. Nonetheless, I think it's important to pass this news along to Decatur residents (who pay both city and county taxes) as any change could affect your overall taxes owed.

In other news, the signs from the Georgia General Assembly are that the state senate may introduce a bill to extend deadlines for homeowners to file appeals for their property assessments. The Tuesday night newscast of “Lawmakers” on GPB covered a tax assessments & appeals committee hearing on the subject. (The full 30 minute broadcast is available on GPB’s website, and the property tax appeal story is about 80 percent of the way through—sorry, but they don’t display the minutes and seconds.)

Lastly, the Journal of Accountancy has released a list of income tax provisions that expired on Dec. 31, 2009. (Thanks goes out to TaxProf Blog as well, or I would never have discovered this item!) I found several tax breaks on the list that were related to homeownership or property investment that are now expired:
  1. The tax credit for first-time homebuyers in Washington, D.C.,
  2. The additional standard deduction for local and state real property taxes (but the basic standard deduction on property taxes remains in effect),
  3. The deduction of contributions for conservation purposes made from real estate capital gains, and
  4. Qualified investment treatment for companies regulated under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980.
I suspect few Decatur residents would be significantly affected by those expiring provisions, but you may want to check with your tax professional.

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