If you own a home, you’ll likely owe property taxes. How much you have to spend to cover the cost can vary dramatically from one area to the next, so much so that they may take you off guard. Similarly, some cities can be surprisingly inexpensive in comparison to others in the state, effectively making them bargains. If you are wondering where the lowest property taxes in Georgia are, here’s what you need to know.
Cities with the Lowest Property Taxes in Georgia
In Georgia, the average effective real estate tax rate is 0.92 percent., which is moderate in comparison to the rest of the country. However, the property tax rates in Georgia do vary by county, causing some areas to be dramatically more affordable than others.
The county with the lowest property taxes in Georgia, based on its effective tax rate, is Towns County. It has an effective tax rate of just 0.42 percent, which is far below the state’s average.
Towns County is in the northern part of the state and borders North Carolina. The county is home to two incorporated cities, Hiawassee and Young Harris, the former of which serves as the county’s seat. There is also Tate City, a census-designated place, along with Alexander Mills and Hog Creek, two unincorporated communities.
Fannin County is actually a fairly close second. It has an effective tax rate of 0.44 percent and is home to cities like Blue Ridge, McCaysville, and Morganton, as well as many census-designated places and unincorporated communities.
In third is Gilmer County, which has a rate of 0.51 percent. There, you’ll find Ellijay and East Ellijay, along with many other communities.
Lowering Your Property Taxes in Georgia
It is possible to lower your property tax burden in Georgia. If you qualify for certain exemptions, you may be able to reduce the amount of your home’s value that’s taxed, making your property tax bill smaller.
Along with a standard homestead exemption, there are statewide programs for low-income seniors, disabled veterans, surviving spouses, and more. Each program has specific requirements, so you’ll need to examine each one closely to determine if you may qualify.
It’s also important to note that counties can have additional exemptions. Precisely what’s available does vary by county. Usually, you can find information about those options through the country’s tax assessor office, including any requirements, details about application procedures, and the value of the exemptions.
Planning for Your Georgia Property Taxes
If you own a home in Georgia, how much planning you need to handle to make sure your property taxes are paid varies. If you have a mortgage, your escrow account usually covers your taxes. Every month, part of your mortgage payment funds that account. Then, when your property tax payment is due, your mortgage provider makes that payment.
However, if you own your home outright, you are typically responsible for submitting property tax payments. In some cases, they are paid in a lump sum each year. In others, your annual charge is divided into two equal payments, each with its own due date.
Precisely when your property taxes are due varies by county. As a result, you’ll need to check with your local assessor or review your property tax bill for details.
Once you know when you own payments, you can plan to cover them. For example, you could set aside 1/12th of the annual amount every month, placing it into savings. Then, when your bill is due, you submit the payment from that account. That approach creates consistency, making it easier to handle.
However, if your property bill is small, that level of planning may not be necessary. Instead, if your bill supports it, you can pay the cost from your monthly income in one go.
Do you think about property taxes when choosing where to live? Would you favor the city with the lowest property taxes in Georgia over other options? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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