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Decatur invites seniors to apply for tax breaks

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Decatur invites seniors to apply for tax breaks

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: The Active Adult classes at the Decatur Recreation Center. Photo from Be Active Decatur

The Active Adult classes at the Decatur Recreation Center. Photo from Be Active Decatur

The city of Decatur is encouraging seniors to take advantage of newly-approved tax breaks, known as homestead exemptions.

On Nov. 8,  voters overwhelmingly approved five different measures that would expand tax breaks for seniors.

The tax breaks Decatur voters approved are:

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– 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

A press release says most of the city’s seniors will be granted the school tax exemption automatically.

“The new school exemption, which is called the S-4, will be factored onto the accounts of any homeowner with the already existing age-65 exemption known as the GH-2. No separate application is needed,” the press release says. “However, qualified homeowners who have never applied for the GH2, such as people who turned 65 during 2016, should visit City Hall at 509 North McDonough Street to apply between Jan. 3-Mar. 15, 2017. You will need to bring photo ID showing age and address.”

Here is more information,  provided by the city of Decatur:

Homeowners over the age of 62 with income under $50,000 may also qualify for another new homestead exemption approved in November, which is the GH-3. If the homeowner’s Georgia taxable net income plus the income of his or her spouse and the income of any resident family member totals less than $50,000, then the homeowner is eligible to apply for this new GH-3 exemption. This exemption will reduce the taxable value of a home by $15,000 for a projected annual savings of approximately $160 (computed using current millage rates which are subject to change). To apply for the GH-3, please come to City Hall between Jan. 3-Mar. 15 with a copy of your most recent available tax return and photo ID showing age and address.

Two other ballot questions that were approved do not create new exemptions, but expand existing exemptions. Homeowners do not need to re-apply to receive the full benefit. The increased exemption amounts will be granted automatically.

Homeowners who turned 62, 65, 70, or 80 during 2016 are encouraged to call the Decatur Revenue Division at 678-553-6743 to determine if they have become qualified for an exemption for which they were not previously eligible. To qualify for any age-based exemption, the claimant must be the age specified before January 1 of the tax year for which the exemption is sought.

Further information on Decatur’s other homestead exemption and tax relief programs can be found at www.decaturga.com/homestead.

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