Online Payments - Property Taxes
In an effort to better serve the taxpayers of Polk County, GA, we are offering some of our services through the implementation of this website. We are pleased to offer convenient online payment of your property taxes. Our website also provides access to the public information that can be obtained through our office. This site will also feature information on the latest legislative issues affecting this office and the regulations of the Georgia Department of Revenue, under which we operate. My staff and I thank you for the opportunity to serve our citizens and we look forward to serving you in the future.
Ad Valorem Tax Process
Ad valorem tax, more commonly known as property tax, is a large source of revenue for local governments in Georgia. The basis for ad valorem taxation is the fair market value of the property, which is established as of January 1 of each year. The tax is levied on the assessed value of the property which, by law, is established at 40% of the fair market value unless otherwise specified by law (O.C.G.A. 48-5-7). Fair market value means "the amount knowledgeable a buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for the property at an arm's length, bona fide sale. "(O.C.G.A. 48-5-311) The amount of tax is determined by the tax rate (mill rate) levied by various entities (one mill is equal to $1.00 for each $1,000 of assessed value, or .001).
Several distinct entities are involved in the ad valorem tax process:
The State Revenue Commissioner is responsible for examining the tax digests of counties in Georgia in order to determine that property is assessed uniformly and equally between and within the counties (O.C.G.A. 48-5-340). In addition, the State levies ad valorem tax each year in an amount which cannot exceed one-fourth of one mill (.00025).
The Polk County, GA Tax Assessor is responsible for the appraisal, assessment, and the equalization of all assessments within the county. They notify taxpayers when changes are made to the value of property, receive and review all appeals filed, and insure that the appeal process proceeds properly. In addition, they approve all exemptions claimed by the taxpayer.
The Polk County, GA Board of Equalization, appointed by the Grand Jury, is the body charged by law with hearing and adjudicating administrative appeals to property values and assessments made by the Board of Tax Assessors.
The Polk County, GA Commission establishes the annual budget for county government operations and levies the mill rate necessary to fund the portion of the budget to be paid for by ad valorem tax.
The Polk County, GA Board of Education, an elected body, establishes the annual budget for school purposes and adopts the mill rate necessary to fund the portion of the budget to be paid for by ad valorem tax.
The Polk County, GA Tax Commissioner, an elected office established by the Constitution, is the official responsible for performing all functions related to billing, collecting, accounting for and disbursing ad valorem taxes collected in this county. The Tax Commissioner also serves as an agent of the State Revenue Commissioner for the registration of motor vehicles. The Tax Commissioner does not set value or the millage rates.
Property tax bills and normally mailed out by October 1st of each year. Taxes are to be paid by December 1st of the same year.
In accordance with Georgia law, all property held and subject to taxation on January 1 of the tax year, shall be returned by the owner to the Tax Assessor’s Office between January 1 and April 1 of that tax year. Any taxpayer who fails to return his property for taxation shall be deemed to have returned for taxations the same property at the same final valuation as and same real property exemptions as for the preceding year.A property owner who is dissatisfied with the assessed value of their property may also file a return stating their opinion of the true Fair Market Value of the property as of January 1 of the tax year. This will establish appeal right if the value is changed again by the Tax Assessor’s Office.
Property owners must notify the Tax Assessor’s Office or Tax Commissioner’s Office immediately of any change in their mailing address. Georgia law requires that all tax notices are sent to the taxpayer at their last know address.
Mobile/Manufactured Home Permits
Owners of mobile homes that are located in Polk County, GA on January 1 must pay the ad valorem taxes by December 31st of each year. After the due date there is a 10% filing penalty and 1% per month fee is added. If the taxes are not paid, there is a fifa filed on the docket in the clerk of superior court. The mobile home will be sold at auction.
Mobile home taxes are due by December 31st unless the mobile home is homesteaded in which case they are taxed the same as real property. All mobile homes must display a current decal. The decal is provided upon payment of the taxes each year. Mobile home owners who qualify for homestead exemption for their mobile home may obtain a current decal from the Tax Commissioner’s Office. To qualify for homestead on a mobile home, the owner of the mobile home and the property on which it is located must be the same, and the owner must qualify for a regular homestead as mentioned earlier in this bulletin. The fair market and assessed values of mobile homes are set by the Tax Assessors’ Office. The fair market value may be appealed by filing an appeal with the Tax Assessors’ Office. For more information regarding appeals, contact the Tax Assessors’ Office at 770-749-2108.
Mobile home owners desiring to declare a different value from the existing value on the home have 45 days to file an appeal from the date the bills are mailed with the Board of Tax Assessors. If a taxpayer is dissatisfied with the value change or corrections, the taxpayer has the right to appeal to the Board of Equalization within 21 days of the date of the notice.
Homestead exemptions have been enacted to reduce the burden of ad valorem taxation for Georgia homeowners. The exemptions apply to homestead property owned by the taxpayer and occupied as his or her legal residence. Homestead exemptions are deducted from the assessed value of the qualifying property (40% of the fair market value).
The homestead of each residence of the State of Georgia actually occupied as a residence and homestead on January 1 of the tax year may be exempted from certain ad valorem taxation providing the exemption is returned and claimed in the manner prescribed by law and approved by the County Board of Assessors. All exemptions must be filed with the Tax Commissioner’s Office at 144 West Ave, Cedartown GA 30125 between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. Applications are accepted from January 1 through April 1 each year for the current tax year. Failure to make application within the prescribed time frame constitutes a waiver of the exemption for that tax year. Georgia law does not provide for an extension time for filing. All exemptions, once approved, are automatically renewed each year until eligibility changes unless exceptions are noted.
Once granted, the homestead exemption is automatically renewed each year and the taxpayer does not have to apply again unless there is a change of residence, ownership, or the taxpayer seeks to qualify for a different kind of exemption.
Types of Homestead Exemptions
Under authority of the State Constitution several different types of homestead exemptions are provided. These are called State Exemptions. In addition, local governments are authorized to provide for increased exemption amounts. These are called Local County Exemptions. Polk County, GA has such local county exemptions. The Local County Exemptions supersede the State Exemptions when the Local Exemption amount is greater than the State Exemption amount. The Tax Commissioner's office and Tax Assessor's Office can answer questions regarding the standard exemptions as well as any local exemptions that are in place.
(No exemption will exceed the tax liability)
S1 - Regular Homestead Exemption
Prior to January 1 of the tax year, the owner of the property must occupy the property as their primary residence. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-44). Exemption Amounts include $20,000 off the assessed value on the county M&O, $2,000 off school (county), $2,000 off of the state portion and *if* you reside within Polk County, GA you will receive $10,000 off of the City and City School Tax
S3 - Elderly Age 62
In addition to the S1 requirements, individuals who are 62 years of age prior to January 1 of the current tax year that are residents of either the City school district or County school district may claim an additional exemption from ad valorem taxes for educational purposes and to retire school bond indebtedness if the earned income of tax payer and his or her spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year. Income from retirement sources, pensions, and disability income is not considered earned income and is excluded up to the maximum amount allowed to be paid to an individual and his or her spouse under the federal Social Security Act. The social security maximum benefit is $60,312. The owner must notify the county Tax Commissioner if for any reason they no longer meet the requirements for this exemption. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-52)
Exemption Amounts include $20,000 off the assessed value on the county M&O, $10,000 off school (county), $2,000 off of the state portion and *if* you reside within the Polk County, GA you will receive $20,000 off of the City and City School Tax.
SC - Elderly Age 65
In addition to the S1 requirements - taxpayer must be 65 years of age prior to January 1 of the current tax year. No Income requirements. *100% of the home and up to 10 acres of land are exempt for the State portion only. Polk County, GA has two additional exemptions. For local school tax exemptions call our office. The owner must notify the county Tax Commissioner if for any reason they no longer meet the requirements for this exemption. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-47)
S5 - Disabled Veteran
In addition to the S1 requirements, any qualifying Disabled Veteran will receive an exemption of $50,000 off of state, county, municipal, and school purposes. The value of the property in excess of this exemption remains taxable. This exemption is extended to the un-remarried surviving spouse or minor children. Please contact the Tax Commissioner's office for further requirements and documents needed. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-48)
SD - Age 65 Disabled Veteran
In addition to the S1 requirements the Disabled Veteran or Unremarried Surviving Spouse and/or minor child as long as they continue to occupy the home as a residence will receive a 100% exemption on home and up to 10 acres of land for STATE portion ONLY, an additional $50,000 for the remaining state portion, county, municipal, and school purposes on the value of the property in excess of 10 acres. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-48)
SS - Un-remarried Surviving Spouse
The surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces who was killed in any war or armed conflict will be granted a homestead exemption from all ad valorem taxes for state, county, municipal and school purposes in the amount of $50,000 the surviving spouse will continue to be eligible for the exemption as long as they do not remarry. Please contact the Tax Commissioner’s office for further requirements and documents needed. (O.C.G.A 48-5-52.1)
S4 - Elderly Age 65
In addition to the S1 requirements, individuals who are 65 years of age prior to January 1 of the current tax year that are residents of either the City school district or County school district may claim an additional exemption from ad valorem taxes for educational purposes and to retire school bond indebtedness if the earned income of the tax payer and his or her spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year. Income from retirement sources, pensions, and disability income is not considered earned income and is excluded up to $52,440 the maximum amount allowed to be paid to an individual and his or her spouse under the federal Social Security Act. The owner must notify the county Tax Commissioner if for any reason they no longer meet the requirements for this exemption. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-52).
Exemption Amounts include 100% off home and up to 10 acres of land and an additional $4,000 off of the state portion, $20,000 off of the assessed value on the county M&O, $35,000 off school (county), and *if* you reside within Polk County, GA you will receive $75,000 off of the City and City School Tax.
S4-7 - Elderly Age 70
Local Exemption Age 70 (S4-7) and over Elderly Exemption For Polk County, GA School taxes
In addition to the requirements for S1, the tax payer(s) must be age 70 or over prior to January 1 of the current tax year. Income requirement for this local exemption from school taxes will apply if the earned income of the tax payer and his or her spouse does not exceed $35,000 for the prior year. Exemption amounts are in addition to the S4 as listed above, please contact our Tax Department to obtain further information
Specialized and Preferential Assessment Programs
Polk County, GA has several types of preferential assessments.
They are the Conservation Use and Residential Transitional Property (Statewide Ref. GA Code Ann. 48-5-7.4), the Preferential Assessment for Agricultural Property (Statewide Ref. GA Code Ann. 48-5-7.4.1), and the Rehabilitated Historic Property (Statewide Ref. GA Code Ann. 48-5-7.2).
Each of these specialized or preferential programs requires the property owner to covenant with the Tax Assessor to maintain the property in its qualified use for at least 10 years in order to qualify for the preference. The Tax Assessor can explain the ownership and use restrictions regarding property qualifying for either of these programs. Please contact this office at 706-275-7410.
The Polk County, GA Board of Assessors’ appraisal staff determines your property values based on recent sales and market conditions. These values are based on the condition of the property as of January 1st of the tax year. The Board of Tax Assessors is required to issue a notice of assessment for taxable real and personal property which states the value of said property. These notices are generally mailed in the Spring of each year.
If the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the value placed on the property, the taxpayer has the right to appeal this value within 45 days of the date of the notice. The appeal may be based on taxability, value, uniformity, and/or the denial of an exemption. The written appeal must initially be filed with the Board of Tax Assessors and must state their chosen method of appeal.
Additional information on assessment appeals may be obtained from the Tax Assessors’ Office.
For further information regarding property taxation in Georgia, please visit the State of Georgia Local Government Services Division website.
Property tax bills are normally mailed out by October 1st of each year. Taxes are to be paid by December 1st of the same year.
Partial payments on taxes are accepted, but after the due date there is an 8.5% annual interest fee (.071 % per month) and 90 days after the due date a 5% penalty is added to your bill every 90 days until a total 20% has accrued. Real property includes tax on land and improvements. Personal property refers to tax on furniture, fixtures, tools, inventory, boats and equipment used in the operation of a business.
Timber tax and heavy duty equipment tax are collected in this office.
Intangible tax is collected by the Clerk of Superior Court.
All mobile homes must display a current mobile home decal. These annual decals can be obtained in the tax section of this office and are provided upon payment of ad valorem taxes each year. Tax bills for mobile homes are generally mailed in January and are due by December 1st.
Please contact us with any questions you may have concerning taxes in Polk County, GA.
Vehicle Tag Renewals
NEW Title Ad Valorem Tax begins March 1, 2013.
If you own or purchase a car, click HERE for what you need to know.
New residents must register their vehicles within thirty days of establishing residency in Georgia. A Georgia Driver's License must be obtained before registering your vehicle, showing a Polk County, GA address.
Out-of-state titles must be surrendered and transferred to Georgia titles (year models 1985 and older are not required to be titled in Georgia). If there is a lien on the vehicle and you do not have the title, we must have the current registration and name and address of the lien holder. Additionally leased vehicles require a power of attorney from the leasing company.
Georgia liability insurance is required to be transmitted to the state's data base by your insurance company in order to register your vehicle. The vehicle must be covered by liability insurance at all times or a lapse in coverage penalty will apply. If you cancel the insurance, you must also cancel the registration.
Tags expire on the birthday of the first owner shown. You should receive a bill 30 days prior to renewal. Penalties apply after the birthday deadline. Failure to receive a bill in the mail does not relieve the penalty. If you do not receive a bill, call the Tag Office with your tag number and one will be mailed to you. This must be done in time to insure registration by your birthday.
It is the vehicle owner's responsibility to insure their vehicle is properly registered.
The penalty for late registration is 10% of the tax ($5.00 minimum) and 25% of the tag fee. These penalties begin immediately following the due date.
New and Used Vehicles
Newly purchased vehicles must be registered within 30 days. Sales Tax is due before or at the time the title is applied for on vehicles purchased from an out-of-state dealer or business.
If you sell a vehicle, you keep your tag. Tags can be transferred to new vehicles that are registered to the same first owner. Proof of title (bill of sale for 1985 and older) is required to purchase a tag or transfer a tag from a vehicle you no longer own.
For further information regarding vehicle registration please visit the State of Georgia Motor Vehicle Division website.
Frequently Asked Questions
The information in this web site is intended to aid you in understanding your rights and responsibilities relating to property tax in Polk County, GA. This site does not necessarily cover every aspect of property taxation and should not be relied upon as a legal source of information. There are many complex tax laws in Georgia, so if you don’t find the answers to your questions below, or, if you need clarification on information you find here, please contact us.
What is property taxation?
Property tax is an ad valorem tax, which means according to value. Ad valorem tax, the tax collected by the tax commissioner, is based on the value of the taxable property in the county.
What property is taxed?
All real estate and personal property are taxable unless law has exempted the property. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-3) Real property is land and generally anything that is erected, growing or affixed to the land; personal property is everything that can be owned that is not real estate. Personal property typically consists of inventory and fixtures used in conducting business, boats, aircraft, farm machinery, motor vehicles and mobile homes. Your household property is not normally taxable.
Who decides how much my property is worth for taxes?
The Board of Assessors has the responsibility of determining the value of property in Polk County, GA. Each year between January 1 and April 1 every property owner has the ability to declare a proposed value for their property. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-9) These values are declared in the manner of 'filing a return'. Returns for real estate are filed in the Tax Assessor's office and returns for personal property are filed with the Board of Assessors. The Board of Assessors will review your proposed value and if they disagree, an assessment notice with the Boards' value will be mailed to you.
What if I disagree with the Tax Assessors' value?
If the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the value placed on the property, the taxpayer has the right to appeal this value within 45 days of the date of the notice. The appeal may be based on taxability, value, uniformity, and/or the denial of an exemption. The written appeal must initially be filed with the Board of Tax Assessors and must state their chosen method of appeal. For more information about Assessment Appeals, please refer to the Important Taxpayer Information Brochure.
What is the difference between fair market value and assessed value?
Assessed value is defined as being 40% of the fair market value. Property in Georgia is taxed on the assessed value. Polk County, GA assesses property at 40%, but Polk County, GA assesses at 100%.
What is a millage rate?
The tax rate, or millage rate, is set annually by the Polk County, GA Board of Commissioners and the Polk County, GA Board of Education. A tax rate of one mill represents a tax liability of one dollar per $1,000 of assessed value. Each governing authority estimates their total revenue from other sources. This figure is subtracted from their overall budgetary needs, and then a millage rate is set that will generate the necessary revenues to fulfill budgetary requirements.
How is my tax bill calculated?
Once the property owner and the Board of Assessors have come to terms with an appropriate value, this value is provided to the Tax Commissioner for tax bill calculation. To calculate a tax bill, you must first deduct any exemptions that may apply from the assessed value; thus generating a net assessed (taxable) value. Next you multiply the net assessed value by the millage rate.
When is my tax bill due?
Taxes for real estate and business personal property are normally due in Polk County, GA on December 20th of each year.
Mobile/manufactured homes are due May 1 of each year and motor vehicles are due based on the owners' birthday.
After the due date, for real estate and business personal property, interest at the rate of 1% per month is charged after December 20th. Additionally, a penalty of 10% will apply to all taxes that are not paid within 90 days of the deadline; however, homesteaded property with a tax liability of less than $500 does not receive the 90-day penalty. If the property taxes remain unpaid, the Tax Commissioner has the right and responsibility to levy on the property for non-payment. Of course, we consider this a last resort for tax collection and prefer to use other collection methods. Tax bills are mailed to the homeowner, never to the mortgage company. You must forward your bill to your mortgage company if necessary.
Is there any way to reduce my tax bill?
Yes. There are several exemptions and special assessment programs available that may apply to your property. The most common are the homestead exemption for real estate and for business personal property there is the freeport exemption. Contact the Polk County, GA Tax Assessor's Office for details of the available special assessment programs and Homestead exemptions.
What is and how do I file for homestead exemption?
Homestead exemption is the system developed by the State of Georgia that exempts from taxation a specified amount of assessed value of your home. You may apply for homestead exemption in the Tax Assessor's office. To qualify you must both own and occupy your home as of January 1. Once you have qualified for homestead exemption and remain in the same house you do not need to reapply. However, if you move, you are required to reapply for the exemption for the new location. Application for homestead exemption may be submitted any time during the year but must be received before April 1 of the taxable year to qualify for the exemption that year. If received after April 1, the Tax Assessor will activate the exemption the following year. When the homeowner reaches the age of 62 years old, they may apply for an additional homestead exemption.
Where do I get a copy of my warranty deed?
You can obtain a copy of your warranty deed from the Clerk of Superior Court deed room. This office is located in the Polk County, GA Courthouse.
Do I pay taxes on my mobile/modular home?
Yes. Mobile/modular homes are considered personal property and are taxable in the State of Georgia. Tax must be paid annually with a due date of May 1. The owner of any mobile/modular home located in Polk County, GA must file a return and obtain a location permit. In order to obtain this permit the mobile home tax for the current year must be paid in full.
Where do property tax dollars go?
Property tax dollars support administration of county government and the public school system; build and maintain public buildings; bridges and county roads; pay expenses of courts; county jail and law enforcement; provide fire protection; and provide for public health and sanitation. This is an abbreviated list of how tax dollars are used to support local government projects. Please click here to review the Georgia Code for a complete list. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-220).
Will paying my taxes late affect my credit?
When taxes remain unpaid for more than 90 days after their due date, the taxes are subject to a tax fifa (lien) being recorded in the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court. These records are public so credit bureaus may access them and may use them to adversely affect your credit. The tax office does not deal with these credit bureaus and so has no control of how they use the information or how often they update their records.
Polk County, GA government offices are closed on the following holidays:
Polk County will hold its next tax sale on April 7th 2020. The tax sale list (when available) will be posted below and will be kept updated. It will also be advertised in the local newspaper for the whole month prior to the sale. The tax sale is held on the Polk County Courthouse steps. The sale starts at 10:00 am. Please register beforehand at the tax office. You will need a valid ID to register. After the sale, you will have one hour to bring cash or certified funds to pay for your purchases. Please contact our office at 770-749-2125 or 770-684-3185 if you have any questions regarding the tax sale.
144 West Ave, Ste A
Cedartown, GA 30125
Call: (770) 749-2125
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