Frequently Asked Questions

VIEW PUTNAM COUNTY TAXPAYER BROCHURE

The information in this web site is intended to aid you in understanding your rights and responsibilities relating to property tax in Putnam County. This site does not necessarily cover every aspect of property taxation and should not be relied upon as a legal source of information. There are many complex tax laws in Georgia, so if you don’t find the answers to your questions below, or, if you need clarification on information you find here, please contact us.

The Putnam County Tax Commissioner's Office should be contacted for more information on inquiries about billing and collection of property taxes. The phone number is (706) 485-5441. 

The Putnam County Board of Tax Assessor's Office should be contacted for more information on property values. The phone number for the Tax Assessor is (706) 485-6376. The web site for the Tax Assessor's office is www.qpublic.net/ga/putnam.

Information pertaining to motor vehicles may be found at www.dor.georgia.gov.

The Department of Revenue sponsors a web site where the annotated version of the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) can be viewed at www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/default.asp.

Click on any of the questions below:

What is property taxation?
What property is taxed?
Who decides how much my property is worth for tax purposes?
What if I disagree with the Tax Assessors' value?
What is the difference between fair market value and assessed value?
What is a millage rate?
How is my tax bill calculated?
When is my tax bill due?
What is and how do I file for homestead exemption?
Where do I get a copy of my warranty deed?
Do I pay taxes on my mobile/modular home?
Where do property tax dollars go?
Will paying my taxes late affect my credit?
What is the HTRG credit on my tax bill?

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.

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.

Who decides how much my property is worth for taxes?

The Board of Assessors has the responsibility of determining the value of property in Putnam County. Each year between January 1 and April 1 every property owner may 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 an assessment notice will be mailed to you.

What if I disagree with the Tax Assessors' value?

A first appeal should be filed with the Board of Assessors.  After review, the Board of Assessors will either change the value again and send a second change notice, or if no change is made, the appeal will be forward to the Board of Equalization.  The taxpayer also has the option to appeal to an arbitrator within 45 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 Putnam County Board of Tax Assessors a written notice wishing to continue the appeal. 

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.

What is a millage rate?

The tax rate, or millage rate, is set annually by the Putnam County Board of Commissioners, Putnam County Board of Education, City of Eatonton, and the State of Georgia. 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.

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

When is my tax bill due?

Taxes for real estate and business personal property are normally due in Putnam County on December 1st of each year. 

Mobile/manufactured homes are due April 1st of each year.

Motor vehicle taxes and registration are generally due by the owner's birthday each year.

Interest will be added to property and mobile home bills that are not paid by the due date, as required by state law. Interest is charged the day after the due date and on the first day of every month thereafter, until the tax bill is paid in full. Effective July 1, 2016, the annual interest rate will be the prime rate at the beginning of the year plus 3%.  The interest rate for 2017 is 6.75% per year. From July 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016, the interest rate was 6.5%.   Prior to July 1, 2016, the annual interest rate was 12% per year. 

Penalties may also be added to delinquent tax bills, as required by state law.  Beginning July 1, 2016, if a property tax bill remains unpaid for 120 days after the due date, a penalty of 5% is added.  An additional 5% is added for each 120-day period that the bill remains unpaid, up to a maximum of 20%.  Prior to July 1, 2016, a one-time 10% penalty was applied to all taxes that were not paid within 90 days of the due date.  These penalties apply to taxes billed for real estate, personal property, timber and heavy duty equipment.  Mobile home penalties of 10% are added the day after the due date.  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 responsibility to levy on the property for non-payment. 

 

Tax bills are mailed to the owner of the property, never to a mortgage company. It is the responsibility of the property owner to be sure that all taxes are timely paid.

 

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. You may apply for homestead exemption in the Tax  Assessor's office. To qualify you must both own and occupy your home as of January 1. Once you have qualified for homestead exemption, if you remain in the same house and the deed is not changed, you usually do not need to reapply for the exemption. However, if you move, you are required to reapply for the exemption for the new location. Application for homestead exemption may be submitted any time during the year but must be received before April 1st of the taxable year to qualify for the exemption that year. If received after April 1st, the Tax Assessor will activate the exemption the following year. When the homeowner reaches the age of 65 years old, they may apply for an additional homestead exemption.

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. This office is located in the Putnam County Courthouse.

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 April 1st. The owner of any mobile/modular home located in Putnam 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.

Where do property tax dollars go?

Property tax dollars support administration of county government and the public school system; build and maintain public buildings; bridges and county roads; pay expenses of courts; county jail and law enforcement; provide fire protection; and provide for public health and sanitation. This is an abbreviated list of how tax dollars are used to support local government projects. Section 48-5-220 of Georgia's Official Code covers the complete list. Please click HEREto review the Official Georgia Code.

Will paying my taxes late affect my credit?

When taxes remain unpaid for more than 90 days after their due date, the taxes are subject to a tax fifa (lien) being recorded in the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court. These records are public so credit bureaus may access them and may use them to adversely affect your credit. The tax office does not deal with credit bureaus and has no control of how they use the information or how often they update their records.

What is the HTRG credit on my tax bill?

The HTRG (Homeowner's Tax Relief Grant) 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. Therefore, there was no credit for this grant on 2009 tax bills or following tax years until the General Assembly reinstates the grant on properties with homestead exemption.

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