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Monday, October 21, 2013

Homeowners Guide to Understanding Ad Valorem Taxes

Many homeowners are puzzled by ad valorem taxes. Here's a step-by-step guide that includes what it's used for, how it is calculated and how homeowners are notified and billed. As a real estate attorney, I get many questions related to home ownership, and I hope this post will help demystify part of the process.

What are Ad Valorem taxes?

Ad valorem taxes are collected by your local county tax commissioner. The amount due is based on the fair market value of your home multiplied by the local tax rate (also referred to as a millage rate). The tax commissioner's office is then responsible for distributing the tax money collected to the proper entities, such as schools, cities and the state.

What's an Ad Valorem Tax Assessment?

First, homeowners get an ad valorem tax assessment in the mail which is labeled "This is not a bill." This document is advance notice of how the county has calculated the ad valorem taxes for your home, including the amount determined as the fair market value. No action is required when you receive this in the mail, but it's smart to review the information and understand how the amount was calculated and what will be due later in the year. Homeowners who wish to file an appeal need to act when they receive the ad valorem assessment and not wait until they get the actual bill. By the time you receive the tax bill, it is too late to file an appeal.

When do I need to pay my Ad Valorem Taxes?

The due dates vary by county, but homeowners in Henry, Lamar and Spalding counties need to pay their ad valorem taxes by mid-November 2013 (check your bill for the exact due date). If you have already set up a tax escrow and payment plan with your mortgage company, no action is needed as they will communicate directly with the county and make the tax payment on your behalf. Even so, it is a good idea to follow up with the tax commissioner to verify that the mortgage company has made the payment. If you do not have a tax escrow account, you need to pay the tax commissioner directly by the deadline shown on the bill statement to avoid any late fees.

For more information on this topic, email Scott Mayfield at smayfield@smithwelchlaw.com or call him at 770-358-3630. Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia. We have an uncompromising commitment to serving our clients and our community. Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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