Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Voters expand homestead exemptions in Decatur

Unofficial results from yesterday's election show that all four proposals to expand property tax homestead exemptions in Decatur passed, including a ballot question that will exempt homeowners over the age of 65 from school taxes beginning in 2017.  Voters also approved a fifth measure which eliminates an exemption that was no longer in effect.

The vote on Senate Bill 339, which increases the basic homestead exemption to exempt $25,000 in assessed value, was the most decisive result with 86 percent approval.

SB 340, which increases the amount of assessed value exempted for homeowners over the age of 65, passed by 83 percent.

Voters favored the creation of a new exemption under SB 342 for homeowners over 62 with income under $50,000.

SB 343, the senior school tax exemption, proved to be the most controversial of the measures, but still passed handily at 75 percent.

Homeowners in Decatur who currently have the existing age 65 homestead exemption, the "GH2," will be granted the new school exemption automatically in 2017.  Homeowners with the basic homestead exemption do not have to reapply to receive the increased exemption amount; that will also be granted automatically.  The City of Decatur will provide further guidance to homeowners on how and when to apply for the new exemption under SB 342 after the election results have been certified.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Decatur offers discount on lawyers' occupation taxes

Last week, Decatur billed over 250 attorneys practicing law in the city. The annual occupation tax bill is $400 plus a $25 administration fee. For lawyers who pay their tax by Nov. 30, the City of Decatur will discount the bill by waiving the $25 fee.  Revenues from the tax are used to provide quality services to the public.

The tax can be paid online. Decatur's occupation tax website allows for payments by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, PayPal, or e-check. No additional fees are charged for paying online. To use this option, go to, click on “Occupation Tax” on the upper left, select 2016 as the year, and enter your name as it appears on your bill. Once you’ve accessed your record, click “Renew,” and you’ll see your option to pay. If paying before Nov. 30, adjust your payment amount to $400.

If you or someone in your firm practices law in Decatur but have not received a bill, or if you have any questions, please call our office at 678-553-6743 or email us at