Decatur voters overwhelmingly vote to approve tax breaks for seniorsFILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: The Active Adult classes at the Decatur Recreation Center. Photo from Be Active Decatur
On Nov. 8 Decatur voters overwhelmingly decided to expand tax breaks for seniors, including school taxes for seniors 65 and older.
The proposed tax breaks went through some legislative wrangling before Gov. Nathan Deal authorized the referendums in May of this year. The school tax break has a five-year sunset clause that will allow local officials to examine its impact on local budgets before reauthorizing it. That referendum, which received the most debate in the run-up to the election, won 75 percent of the vote. The other measures that passed on Tuesday received more than 80 percent of the vote.
The tax breaks Decatur voters approved are:
– Expanding the Decatur school homestead tax exemption to seniors 65 and older. The exemption will save seniors $993 on every $100,000 of their home’s value
– Increasing the city’s basic homestead exemption from $20,000 to $25,000
– Increasing the exemption from homeowners over 65 from $1,000 to $10,000
– A new $15,000 exemption for homeowners over 62 with a household income of less than $50,000
– Repealing an old cap on the exemptions
*Source: Decatur Tax Blog, news archives
According to the Decatur Tax Blog, “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.”
Senate Bill 342 is the new $15,000 exemption for homeowners over 62 with a household income of less than $50,000.