Homestead Exemption

Stacie Wells

It’s that time of year again. The filing deadline for homestead exemption in Georgia is looming. Here’s a quick FAQ in case you have some of these same questions…


How are Columbia County property taxes calculated?

Each property’s fair market value is established as of January 1 of each year. The entire fair market value isn’t taxed, however. Only the assessed value (which is 40% of the fair market value) is used in calculating property tax. The assessed value is multiplied by the tax rate, or the mill rate, to give you the property tax amount.

What is Homestead Exemption?

Homestead Exemptions were enacted to reduce the property tax burden for Georgia homeowners. In addition to the standard exemption, Columbia County and the state of Georgia have several different exemptions available. The additional exemptions in place in Columbia County are related to age, military service-related disability, a homeowner who is an un-remarried surviving spouse of a peace officer or firefighter who was killed in the line of duty, agricultural properties, conservation use, and forest land. While you may qualify for more than one type of exemption, you are only allowed to receive one.

When do I apply for Homestead Exemption in Columbia County?

Initial applications must be submitted to the Tax Commissioner’s office by April 1 to receive a tax benefit for that year. You do not have to reapply each year unless there is a change to the deed. If a new deed is filed due to refinancing your mortgage, a name change, home sale, or if you are trying to qualify for a different exemption, then a new application must be submitted.

Does every homeowner benefit from Homestead Exemption?

Not necessarily. If you are a Georgia homeowner but you claim another state as your tax home, you may want to compare the tax savings from your home state with the tax savings in Georgia. Do yourself a huge favor and consult with your accountant. In South Carolina, Homestead Exemption benefits are based on age, vision, and disability.

What if I forgot to apply for Homestead Exemption when I bought my home?

Good news! It doesn’t matter. It was several years after we bought our home when we realized we had overlooked applying for Homestead Exemption. I do want to point out that if you’re expecting to see a big drop in your monthly mortgage payment, don’t spend that money just yet. Once we applied for Homestead Exemption, the standard exemption gave us a tax savings of just over $100 per year (or roughly $10 per monthly mortgage payment).

Where do I apply for Homestead Exemption?

In Columbia County, the Tax Commissioner‘s office is currently located at 630 Ronald Reagan Drive, Building “C”, in Evans. For additional information, you can reach the Tax Commissioner’s office at 706-261-8299.

What if I live in Richmond County or Aiken County?

Dates and guidelines are different, so make sure to contact the appropriate office in your county for detailed instructions on how and when to file:

Richmond County filing instructions and application

Aiken County Auditor’s Office 

Have other questions? I’m always happy to help! You can reach me at 706-945-7649 (text or call) or on Messenger:

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