Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Georgia House OKs Decatur’s senior school exemption

The Georgia House of Representatives has approved Decatur’s proposal for a homestead exemption for homeowners over the age of 65 from school taxes. The vote on Senate Bill 343 carried the House this morning by a vote of 155 to 1. The bill had been postponed for the past several legislative days. If Governor Deal signs the bill into law, it will appear on local ballots in November for voter approval. The exemption would go into effect in 2017.

The dollar amount of property tax savings for the exemption will vary by homeowner. In order to get a sense of how much money you may save, look at your last City of Decatur property tax bill. On the line that says “School,” look to the right at the amount in the column that says “Total Due.” Assuming the exemption is approved, if you are over 65 and your home in Decatur is your principal residence, you would no longer see that charge from 2017 until at least 2021, when the exemption would expire unless it is renewed.  Property owners over the age of 80 with income under $40,000 were already exempted from local school taxes, so this will primarily benefit homeowners between the ages of 65 and 79.

The new exemption and existing school exemptions do not apply to the school bond that was approved by voters last November. Only disabled veterans will be partially exempt from school bond charges.

Last week the House also approved four other bills that will expand Decatur’s homestead exemptions beginning in 2017 if approved by voters this November.

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