Property Tax Division
Taxes on Property
(O.C.G.A. & sect; 48-5-11) Real property is taxable in the county where the land is located, and personal property is taxable in the county where the owner maintains a permanent legal residence unless otherwise provided by law.
Generally, Athens-Clarke County real estate and business personal property taxes are due by October 20. If taxes are not collected on the property, it may be levied upon and ultimately sold. Property tax collected by the local government is used to pay for the support of services provided by the Clarke County Board of Education, Athens-Clarke County, and the State of Georgia.
Property tax inquiry, payment options and payment information for property located in Athens-Clarke County is available online.
(O.C.G.A. § 48-5-7) In Georgia property is assessed at 40% of the fair market value unless otherwise specified by law. Property is assessed at the county level. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-340) The state revenue commissioner is responsible for examining the tax digests of counties in Georgia in order to determine that property is assessed uniformly and equally between and within the counties.
The tax bills received by property owners will include both the fair market value and the assessed value of the property. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-2) Fair market value 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."
(O.C.G.A. § 48-5-311) Property owners that do not agree with the appraised value on their tax bill can file an appeal with the Board of Assessors. If no agreement is reached, the appeal is automatically forwarded to the Board of Equalization.
Equipment, Machinery & Fixtures
Equipment, machinery, and fixtures are assessed at 40% of fair market value. The tax assessor may value the equipment, machinery, and fixtures of a going business to reflect the fair market value of the business as a whole. When no ready market exists for the sale of equipment, machinery, and fixtures, a fair market value may be determined by resorting to any reasonable, relevant, and useful information available. This information may include, but is not limited to, the original cost of the property, depreciation or obsolescence, and any increase in value by reason of inflation.
Check for Unpaid Taxes Before You Buy
People frequently buy a business, boat or aircraft only to find out after the sale, that there were unpaid personal property taxes. Attorney's typically check for real estate taxes due, but personal property taxes are sometimes overlooked. Before you complete the transaction and the final handshake symbolically seals the deal, contact my office to make sure there are no outstanding taxes.
Standing timber is not taxed until sold or harvested, at which time it is taxed based upon 100% of its fair market value.