Frequently Asked Questions


How is property value (also known as Fair Market Value or FMV) determined?

What exemptions to ad valorem taxation are available to property owners?

What is the difference between Fair Market Value and Assessment or Assessed Value?

How can I appeal the Fair Market Value of my property?

What is the difference between Fair Market Value (FMV), Conservation Use Valuation Assessment (CUVA), and Agricultural Preferential Assessment?

What is Personal Property? 48-1-2 (22) Personal Property Defined.

What do I include on my personal property return? 48-5-3 Taxable Property.

What is the date that I am liable for ownership? 48-5-10 Returnable Property.

What if I don't file my personal property return in succeeding years? 48-5-20 Failure to Return Property.

What personal property is exempt? 48-5-42 Exempt Personal Property.

What is the value below which some Personal Property is exempt? 48-5-42.1 Personal Property Tax Exemption for Property Valued at $7500.00 or Less.

Will I be audited to insure I return all my Personal Property? 48-5-299 Ascertainment of taxable property; assessments against unreturned property; penalty for unreturned property; penalty in certain counties.

What happens if I don't file my tax return? 48-5-300 Power to summon witnesses and require production of books and papers; contempt proceedings.


How is property value (also known as Fair Market Value or FMV) determined

Methodology used in setting Fair Market Value (PDF attached)

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What exemptions to ad valorem taxation are available to property owners

Information found at http://www.columbusga.org/TaxAssessors/exemptions.htm

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What is the difference between Fair Market Value and Assessment or Assessed Value

Fair market value of property per UCGA 48-5-2(3) means "the amount a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for the property at an arm's length, bona fide sale." Assessed value in the State of Georgia is 40% of the fair market value.

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How can I appeal the Fair Market Value of my property

Information found at http://www.columbusga.org/TaxAssessors/Appeals.htm#APEAL

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What is the difference between Fair Market Value (FMV), Conservation Use Valuation Assessment (CUVA), and Agricultural Preferential Assessment?

See the attached pamphlet - CUVA Pamphlet

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What is Personal Property? 48-1-2 (22) Personal Property Defined

"Tangible Personal Property" means personal property which may be seen, weighed, measured, felt, touched or which is in any other manner perceptible to the senses.

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What do I include on my personal property return? 48-5-3 Taxable Property

All real property including, but not limited to leaseholds, interests less than fee, and all personal property shall be liable to taxation and shall be taxed, except as otherwise provided by law. Liability of property for taxation shall not be affected by the individual or corporate character of the property owner or by the resident or nonresident status of the property owner.

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What is the date that I am liable for ownership? 48-5-10 Returnable Property

All property shall be returned by the taxpayers for taxation to the tax commissioner or tax receiver as provided by law. Each return by a taxpayer shall be for property held and subject to taxation on January 1 next preceding each return.

1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. A person resident in this state on January 1 but for only part of the year is liable for ad valorem taxation for the entire year, since there is no provision for prorating of taxes.

1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. Owner must return and pay tax for a given year on property owned on January 1 of that year, even if subsequently sold, but is not required to return or pay tax for that year on property bought after January 1.

1958-59 Op. Att'y Gen. A dealer engaged in business in one county on January 1 who, subsequent to that date, removes his business to another county is liable under O.C.G.A. 48-5-16 to the first county for ad valorem taxes on all personal property of whatever kind, connected with or used in such business. The fact that the property was moved from the county after January 1 would not relieve the owner from taxation in the county in which they were located on January 1.

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What if I don't file my personal property return in succeeding years? 48-5-20 Failure to Return Property

Any taxpayer of any county who returned or paid taxes in the county for the preceding tax year who fails to return his property for taxation for the current tax year as required by this chapter shall be deemed to have returned for taxation the same property as was returned or deemed to have been returned in the preceding tax year at the same valuation as the property was finally determined to be subject to taxation in the preceding year. Each such taxpayer shall also be deemed to have claimed the same homestead exemption and personal property exemption as allowed in the preceding year, except for freeport.

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What personal property is exempt? 48-5-42 Exempt Personal Property

All personal clothing and effects, household furniture, furnishings, equipment, appliances, and other personal property used within the home, if not held for sale, rental or other commercial use, shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxation. All tools and implements of trade of manual laborers shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxation in an amount not to exceed $2500.00 in actual value and all domestic animals shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxation in an amount not to exceed $300.00 in actual value.

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What is the value below which some Personal Property is exempt? 48-5-42.1 Personal Property Tax Exemption for Property Valued at $7500.00 or Less

It is the intent of this Code section to exempt from the payment of ad valorem taxation certain tangible personal property in which the tax due not to exceed the reasonable cost of administering and collecting the tax. All tangible personal property of a taxpayer, except motor vehicles, trailers, and mobile homes, shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxation if the actual fair market value of the total amount of taxable tangible personal property owned by the taxpayer within the county, as determined by the board of tax assessors, does not exceed $7500.00.

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Will I be audited to insure I return all my Personal Property? 48-5-299 Ascertainment of taxable property; assessments against unreturned property; penalty for unreturned property; penalty in certain counties.

It shall be the duty of the county board of tax assessors to investigate diligently and to inquire into the property owned in the county for the purpose of ascertaining what real and personal property is subject to taxation. The board shall make such investigation as may be necessary to determine the value of any property upon which for any reason all taxes due the state or the county have not been paid in full as required by law. In all cases where the full amount of taxes due the state or county has not been paid, the board shall assess against the owner, if known, and against the property, if the owner is not known, the full amount of taxes which has accrued and which may not have been paid at any time within the statue of limitations. In all cases where taxes are assessed against the owner of property, the board may proceed to assess the taxes against the owner of the property according to the best information obtainable; and such assessment, if otherwise lawful, shall constitute a valid lien against the property so assessed.

Judicial Decisions - What Valuation Methods Authorized. The tax assessors may use any system, method, cadastral survey, books, available lists of valuations of types of property, city valuations or other instruments or other information obtainable, provided such information is the best information available in their fixing of just and fair valuation of the property assessed, and provided that the taxation as between individual taxpayers is justly and fairly equalized.

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What happens if I don't file my tax return? 48-5-300 Power to summon witnesses and require production of books and papers; contempt proceedings.

a.) The county board of tax assessors may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and may subpoena of any person any books, papers, or documents which may contain any information material to any question relative to the existence or liability of property subject to taxation or to the identity of the owner of property liable to taxation or relevant to other matters necessary to the proper assessment of taxes lawfully due the state or county. Such subpoenas may be issued in the name of the board, shall be signed by any one or more members of the board or by the secretary of the board, and shall be served upon a taxpayer or witness or any party required to produce documents or records five days before the day upon which any hearing by the board in scheduled at which the attendance of the party or witness or the production of such documents is required.

b.) If any witness subpoenaed by any county board of tax assessors fails or refuses to appear, fails or refuses to answer questions propounded, or fails or refuses to produce any books, papers, or documents required to be produced by an order of the board, except upon a legal excuse which would relieve the witness of the obligation to attend as a witness or to produce such documents before the superior court if lawfully required to do so, the person so failing or refusing shall be guilty of contempt and shall be cited by the board to appear before a judge of the superior court of the county. The judge of the superior court of the county shall have the same power and jurisdiction to punish the person failing or refusing to comply with the order for contempt and to require and compel the giving of the testimony or the production of the books and records as in cases of contempt committed in the presence of the court and as in cases pending in the court.

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* taken from PERSONAL PROPERTY LAWS - O.C.G.A Title 48 Volume 36 - Revenue and Taxation