Homestead Exemptions  

Residents of Chatham County who own and actually occupy a home and the land it rests on are eligible for an exemption. Property owners are allowed to claim only one homestead exemption, in which case must be on their primary residence. Rental property does not qualify. Only persons who reside on the property and whose name appears on the title can file for exemptions. Applications must be completed in person by the property owner, unless they have given another party their power of attorney.

All exemptions must be filed with the Assessors Office, 222 W. Oglethorpe Ave., Suite 113., 1st Floor of the Pete Liakakis Government Building between 8:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Applications are accepted year-round. Applications taken prior to April 1 of a Tax Year will be processed for the current year. Applications taken after April 1 will be applied to the next Tax Year.

Failure to file within the allocated time for the homestead exemption constitutes a waiver of exemption for that tax year. Georgia law does not provide for extension of time for filing for whatever reason.

All exemptions, once approved, are automatically renewed each year until eligibility changes.

Available Homestead Exemptions:

1. Regular Homestead Exemption

a. $2,000 off the net assessed value of property. An additional $10,000 is applied to County millage rates only

2. Stephens-Day Exemption

a. A homestead exemption that is equal to the difference between the current year fair market value and the adjusted base year value (property’s value in the year prior to the homestead application plus any improvements since the year of the application). This exemption does not apply to improvements added to the property after January 1 of the base year.

b. The Savannah Chatham County Public School System bills have a Consumer Price Index percentage that will be added to the base year value, whenever there is an annual increase in the Consumer Price Index. There have been annual Consumer Price Index increases every year since the beginning of Stephens-Day. The Consumer Price Index percentage increase is not included in any of the other levying authorities’ bills. If you have any questions, please call 912-652-7271 or 912-447-4856.

c. When the property was in the name of one spouse, the homestead and Stephens-Day exemptions would be removed. The law has since been amended so that the surviving spouse would be granted the original Stephens-Day value of the deceased spouse. To qualify for this, the property has to be in the name of the unremarried surviving spouse with an application being made in the same manner as the other homestead exemptions.

3. Senior School Tax Exemption

a. Applicant must be 62 years of age and own and reside on the property prior to January 1 of the tax year

b. Combined net income as defined by Georgia law of applicant and all members of the family residing on the homestead for the preceding year cannot exceed $25,000.

c. Completed prior tax year’s state and federal income tax forms for the applicant and for any family member that resides in the home

4. School Tax Disability

a. Each resident of Chatham County who is disabled is granted an exemption on that person’s homestead from School District Ad valorem taxes for the full value of the homestead.

b. The term “disability” as used for this exemption means mentally or physically incapacitated to the extent that such person is unable to be gainfully employed and that such incapacity is likely to be permanent.

c. “Ad valorem taxes for educational taxes for educational purposes” means all ad valorem taxes for educational purposes levied by, for, or on behalf of the school district, including, but not limited to, taxes to pay interest on and to retire school bond indebtedness.

d. A letter from one licensed Georgia medical physician licensed to practice medicine under Chapter 34 of Title 43 of the O.C.G.A. certifying that in their opinion, the person requesting the exemption is mentally or physically incapacitated to the extent such person is unable to be gainfully employed and that such incapacity is likely to be permanent.

e. For persons who have previously received the Chatham County Special Homestead exemption or the Veterans exemption because of a disability, they will be required to submit their disability status from a qualifying agency, such as the Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, or other such entity or physician.

5. Special Chatham County

a. Applicant must be 65 years of age and must own and reside on the property prior to January 1 of the current tax year OR must be totally and permanently disabled as certified by either the Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration, Georgia Department of Human Resources, Workman’s Compensation Board, County Health Office, or Civil Service.

b. Combined net income of applicant and spouse for preceding tax year cannot exceed $10,000 (Social Security and income from pension and retirement systems are excluded except for that portion which exceeds the maximum amount authorized to be paid to an individual and his spouse, on January 1 of the year for which the exemption is sought, under the Federal Social Security Act.

6. Disabled Veterans

a. The term “disabled veteran” as used for this exemption means a disabled wartime veteran who was honorably discharged and has been adjudicated by the Veterans Administration as being totally and permanently disabled and entitled to receive service connected benefits so long as he/she is 100% disabled and receiving or entitled to receive benefits for a 100% service connected disability.

b. Each applicant must file with the Assessors Office a letter from the Veterans Administration granting the veteran’s disability and furnish a copy of their DD214 form.

c. Such exemption shall be extended to the surviving spouse as long as they have not remarried or minor children at the veteran’s death so long as they continue to occupy the home as a residence and homestead.

7. Unremarried Surviving Spouse of US Service Member Killed in Action

a. Any person who is a citizen and resident of Georgia and who is an unremarried surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces of the United States, which member has been killed in any war or armed conflict in which the armed forces of the United States has engaged, whether under United States command or otherwise, shall be granted a homestead exemption from all ad valorem taxation for state, county, municipal, and school purposes up to the maximum amount set forth.

b. The unremarried surviving spouse shall furnish documents from the Secretary of Defense evidencing that such unremarried surviving spouse receives spousal benefits as a result of the death of such person’s spouse who as a member of the armed forces of the United States was killed while on active duty or while performing authorized travel to or from active duty during any war or armed conflict in which the armed forces of the United States engaged, whether under United States command or otherwise, pursuant to the Survivor Benefit Plan under Subchapter II of Chapter 73 of Title 10 of the United States Code or pursuant to any preceding or subsequent federal law which provide survivor benefits for spouses of members of the armed forces killed in any war or armed conflict.

8. Surviving Spouse of Peace Officers and Firefighters Killed in the Line of Duty

a. Each resident of the state who is the unremarried surviving spouse of a peace officer or firefighter who was killed in the line of duty is granted an exemption on that person's homestead from all ad valorem taxes for the full value of the homestead for as long as the applicant occupies the residence as a homestead.

b. Documentation giving such information relative to receiving such exemption as will enable the Tax Receiver to make a determination as to whether such person is entitled to such exemption.

9. City of Savannah

a. The applicant must be 65 years of age or over or totally disabled as certified by either the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Human Resources, the Worker’s Compensation Board, the County Health Department, or the Civil Service and must be a resident of the City of Savannah.

b. The resident applicant’s net income, as defined by Georgia law, cannot exceed $11,500.

c. The applicant will need to provide copies of a completed prior tax year’s state income tax form and a completed prior tax year’s federal income tax form plus a letter from Veterans Administration, Social Security, Department of Human Resources, Workmen’s Compensation, Civil Service, or Medicare attesting to the applicant’s disability.

10. Floating Homestead

a. In order for the applicant to receive any benefit from the Floating Exemption, the fair market value of the homestead would have to increase more than two and a half times ( 2 ½) the current exemption amount.

b. Applicant must be 62 years of age or older prior to January 1 of the current tax year.

c. The applicant shall furnish a completed prior tax year’s federal income tax form for themselves plus all other eligible members of the household.

11. Tax Deferral for the Elderly

Any person age 62 or older who is entitled to homestead exemption may elect to defer payment of ad valorem taxes on their homestead by filing an annual application for tax deferral. The maximum amount to be deferred shall apply only to the taxes on that portion of the assessed value which is $50,000 or less. The amount of taxes deferred shall accrue interest at the rate of 3/4 of one percent per month until paid. The taxes and interest deferred shall constitute a lien on the applicant’s homestead.

To file for the appropriate homestead exemption, the property owner shall provide the Chatham County Board of Assessors staff with all of the following:

a) A valid Georgia Driver’s License or Georgia Identification Card.

b) Registration for vehicles owned by and registered in the name of the applicant.

As a supplement to a valid Georgia Driver’s License or Georgia Identification Card staff may request the following:

c) A prior year utility bill or Chatham County Voter’s Registration Card.