Friday, April 23, 2010

Readers write: exemptions questions

In response to my “Where is my exemption?” post, reader John Rose asked the following questions:

A few questions for you about exemptions, Russ:

1) Which of the eight exemptions listed on the city website are actually city laws (vs. state laws)?

2) How many people on average take advantage of each of those exemptions?

3) How much of an impact do each of those exemptions have on the city's tax revenues?

Good questions!

First, the Homestead Tax Relief Grant (HTRG), the exemption for residents over 62 with income less than $10,000 (S-1), and the exemption for disabled veterans come from general legislation that is applicable statewide. Currently the HTRG is not being funded by the state, so there are really only seven “active” exemptions.

The Georgia General Assembly passed local legislation which allowed for referendums and approval by a majority of Decatur voters for each of the other five exemptions: the basic homestead exemption (GH-1), the exemption for being age 65 or older (GH2), the exemption for being older than 62 with an income of less than $30,000 (GS-1), the exemption for being over 80 with less than 40,000 in income (S-2), and the exemption for residents over 70 (S-3).

To answer your other questions, this chart shows a very rough estimate of how many property owners benefit from these exemptions and approximately how much each exemption reduces tax bills by over the course of a year:

Of course those numbers fluctuate depending on the digest value, who’s aging and applying for additional exemptions, who’s moving out, and changes in the millage rates. There are also tax exempt properties like churches and homeowners who are on “year support” or deferment. Altogether, taxes are reduced by about $2½ million a year because of these exemptions (which includes the city and the school system taxes). More details on who’s eligible for these exemptions and how they’re calculated is available here.

I hope those answers help, and keep’m coming!

No comments:

Post a Comment