The information in this web site is intended to aid you in understanding your rights and responsibilities relating to property tax in Ben Hill 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 Ben Hill County Tax Commissioner's Office should be contacted for more information on inquiries about billing and collection of property taxes. The phone number is (229) 426-5144.
The Ben Hill County Board of Tax Assessor's Office should be contacted for more information on property values. The phone number for the Tax Assessor is (229) 426-5147.
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.
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.
The Board of Assessors has the responsibility of determining the value of property in Ben Hill County. Each year between January 1 and April 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.
Taxpayers may challenge an assessment by Ben Hill County Board of Tax Assessors by appealing to Ben Hill County Board of Equalization or to an arbitrator(s) 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 Ben Hill County Board of Tax Assessors a written notice wishing to continue the appeal.
Assessed value is defined as being 40% of the fair market value. Property in Georgia is taxed on the assessed value.
The tax rate, or millage rate, is set annually by the Ben Hill County Board of Commissioners and the Ben Hill 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.
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.
Taxes for real estate and business personal property are normally due in Ben Hill County on December 1st of each year.
Mobile/manufactured 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, interest at the rate of 1% per month is charged after December 1st. 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. Tax bills are mailed to the homeowner, never to the mortgage company. You must forward your bill to your mortgage company if necessary.
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 Ben Hill County Tax Assessor's Office for details of the available special assessment programs and Homestead exemptions.
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 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. 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. When the homeowner reaches the age of 62 years old, they may apply for an additional homestead exemption.
You can obtain a copy of your warranty deed from the Clerk of Superior Court deed room. This office is located in the Ben Hill County Courthouse.
This is an abbreviated list. Please see the Official Georgia Code for a complete list. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-220)
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 Ben Hill 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.
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 these credit bureaus and so has no control of how they use the information or how often they update their records.
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. It is expected that the credit will not be granted in future years until state revenues Therefore, there will not be a credit for this grant on 2009 tax bills on properties with homestead exemption. This credit will not be available in 2010 or future years until state revenue levels improve.
The Ben Hill County Tax Office accepts checks and cash in person with no fees. In addition, the county offers as a convenience to its citizens an alternative method to pay. Citizens can now pay online when and where it is most convenient for them to do so. For the convenience of paying online all payment methods will be assessed a convenience fee. The customer will be informed of the convenience fee and may elect to continue or revert back to paying by check or cash at the tax office or via mail. PayPal and Card payments are only available via the website.
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Fitzgerald, GA 31750
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