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 Newton County. A small web page cannot cover the many and complex tax laws in Georgia. If you have questions or need clarification, please call the office at 770-784-2020. My staff and I are here to help you.

Purpose of this Site

The purpose of this site is to answer questions and provide general information to the public on taxation in Newton County, Georgia. This site does not necessarily cover every aspect of property taxation and should not be relied upon as a legal source of information. Please refer to the specified code sections for specific limitations.

The Department of Revenue sponsors a web site where the non-annotated version of the Official Code of Georgia can be viewed. To view this site, click HERE.

The Newton County Tax Commissioner's Office should be contacted for more information on inquiries about billing and collection of property taxes, and the Newton County Board of Tax Assessor's Office should be contacted for more information on property values. The phone number for the Tax Assessor is 770-784-2030.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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.

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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.

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Who decides how much my property is worth for tax purposes?

The Board of Assessors and their staff have the responsibility of determining the value of property in Newton County. Each year between January 1 and March 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.

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What if I disagree with the Tax Assessors' value?

Taxpayers may challenge an assessment by Newton County Board of Tax Assessors by appealing to Newton County Board of Equalization or to an arbitrator(s) within 30 days from the date of the assessment notice. Once the county board of equalization or the arbitrator(s) has rendered a decision, the taxpayer may continue their appeal to the superior court by mailing or filing with Newton County Board of Tax Assessors a written notice wishing to continue the appeal.

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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.

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What is a millage rate?

The tax rate, or millage rate, is set annually by the Newton County Commissioners and the Newton County 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.

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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 many apply from the assessed value; thus generating a net assessed (taxable) value. Next you multiply the net assessed value by the millage rate.

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What is the HTRC credit on my tax bill?

The HTRC (Homeowner's Tax Relief Credit) is the result of the homeowner's tax relief enacted by the Governor and the General Assembly of the State of Georgia in 1999. The grant, appropriated by the General Assembly and the Governor for the last several years to counties, cities and schools, had given tax relief to homeowners in the form of a credit on their tax bills. For the 2009 tax year, the Governor and General Assembly did not fund the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant. Declining state revenues during the current recession means there is no money for the State to give the tax relief to homeowners. Therefore, there will not be a credit for this grant on 2009 tax bills on properties with homestead exemption. As a result, many Georgia homeowners will see a property tax increase of $200 to $300 on their 2009 tax bills.

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When is my tax bill due?

Taxes for real estate and business personal property are normally due in Newton County first installment October 20 and final installment December 20 of each year. Mobile/modular 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, a 5% penalty on the first installment if not paid by the due date, interest at the rate of 1% per month is charged after December 20. 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.

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Is there anyway 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 Newton County Tax Assessor’s Office for details of the available exemptions.

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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. To apply for homestead exemption bring a copy of your warranty deed to the Tax Assessor’s office between January 2 and April 1. 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. As of June 1, 2005 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.

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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 record center. This office is located at 1132 Usher Street, Covington, GA.

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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 Newton County 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.

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Where do property tax dollars go?

  • To support administration of county government and the public school system
  • To build and repair public buildings and bridges
  • To pay expenses of courts, county jail and law enforcement
  • To build and maintain county roads
  • To provide for fire protection
  • To provide for public health and sanitation

This is an abbreviated list; please see the Official Code of Georgia for a complete list. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-220)

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