Monday, January 12, 2015

Bills to watch in 2015

The Georgia General Assembly convenes today. Here’s a look at some of the proposals at the Gold Dome that could affect taxes locally or statewide if enacted:
  • Expansion of homestead exemptions in Decatur. The Decatur City Commission approved a proposal late last year to expand two existing homestead exemptions and add a new one. The next step would be for the General Assembly to pass it before a referendum that would take place later this year. 
  • DeKalb property tax freeze. Both Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven) and state Sen. Fran Millar (R-North DeKalb) said during their 2014 reelection campaigns that they intend to renew the real property tax freeze in DeKalb. The freeze reduces county tax bills for all DeKalb's homeowners by offsetting increases in their assessed value (even for homeowners in Decatur), but does not affect your city taxes. 
  • Decatur's proposed annexation. The Decatur City Commission has approved an annexation proposal in December and is looking for a legislative sponsor.  This would affect the property taxes of currently unincorporated residents if approved by the legislature and then by voters in a referendum later this year.
  • Property assessment reform.  During his reelection campaign, Sen. Millar promised "to enact true property tax assessment reform" during the 2015 session that would affect assessments statewide.  We may see a reintroduction of a bill along the lines of SB 293 that Millar proposed last year. 
  • Tax lien changes.  Newly elected state Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Buckhead) has proposed requiring certified notice before selling a property tax lien. Neither Decatur nor DeKalb sells liens, but the proposal would affect Fulton County which routinely transfers liens.
  • PILOT assessment reform.  A special study committee met during the legislative break to review payments-in-lieu-of-tax agreements and their affect on school funding. While they focused on administrative changes rather than new legislation, there could be some proposals stemming from the committee's hearings to provide for greater involvement and notification by tax assessors of PILOT values to school boards for budgeting purposes.
  • Tax credit changes.  There has been some discussion during the legislative break about changes to state tax credits (possibly including a reduction in the number of credits available but a continuation or even an expansion of the state entertainment/film tax credit).  There have also been two pre-filed bills that would affect state income taxes. HB 20 would extend the state income tax credit for low-income housing to any owner who owned it even for part of the tax year, and HB 35 would increase the amount of qualified education tax credits available.

No comments:

Post a Comment