Online Payments - Property Taxes
In an effort to better serve the taxpayers of McIntosh County, we are offering some of our services through the implementation of this website. We are pleased to offer convenient online payment of your property taxes. Our website also provides access to the public information that can be obtained through our office. This site will also feature information on the latest legislative issues affecting this office and the regulations of the Georgia Department of Revenue, under which we operate. My staff and I thank you for the opportunity to serve our citizens and we look forward to serving you in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
The information in this web site is intended to aid you in understanding your rights and responsibilities relating to property tax in McIntosh 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 McIntosh County Tax Commissioner's Office should be contacted for more information on inquiries about billing and collection of property taxes. The phone number is 912-437-6627.
The McIntosh County Board of Tax Assessor's Office should be contacted for more information on property values. The phone number for the Tax Assessor is 912-437-6663.
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.
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 McIntosh 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.
What if I disagree with the Tax Assessors' value?
Taxpayers may challenge an assessment by McIntosh County Board of Tax Assessors by appealing to McIntosh 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 McIntosh 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 McIntosh County Board of Commissioners the McIntosh 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.
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 McIntosh County on November15th or 60 days after they are mailed, each year.
Mobile/manufactured homes are due April 1 of each year and motor vehicles are due based on the owners' birthday.
The day after the due date, for real and personal property, interest is charged per month. Additionally, after 120 days past due, a penalty of 5% is added every 120 days up to 20% of the principal amount of the tax originally due. However, homesteaded property with a tax liability of less than $500 does not receive this penalty.
Is there a way to reduce my tax bill?
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 McIntosh County Tax Commissioner's Office for details on Homestead exemptions.
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 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.
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 deed room. This office is located in the McIntosh 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 1. The owner of any mobile/modular home located in McIntosh 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. Please click here to review the Georgia Code for a complete list. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-220)
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 these credit bureaus and so 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 will not be a credit for this grant on 2009 tax bills or following tax years until the General Assembly reinstates the grant on properties with homestead exemption.
AD VALOREM TAX PROCESS
Ad valorem tax, more commonly known as property tax, is a large source of revenue for local governments in Georgia. The basis for ad valorem taxation is the fair market value of the property, which is established as of January 1 of each year. The tax is levied on the assessed value of the property which, by law, is established at 40% of the fair market value unless otherwise specified by law (O.C.G.A. 48-5-7). 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) The amount of tax is determined by the tax rate (mill rate) levied by various entities (one mill is equal to $1.00 for each $1,000 of assessed value, or .001).
Several distinct entities are involved in the ad valorem tax process:
The McIntosh County Tax Commissioner, an elected office established by the Constitution, is the official responsible for performing all functions related to billing, collecting, accounting for and disbursing ad valorem taxes collected in this county. The Tax Commissioner also serves as an agent of the State Revenue Commissioner for the registration of motor vehicles. The Tax Commissioner does not set value or the millage rates.
Generally, McIntosh County property taxes are due by November 15th or 60 days after they are mailed. If taxes are not paid on the property, it may be levied upon and ultimately sold.
In accordance with Georgia law, all property held and subject to taxation on January 1 of the tax year, shall be returned by the owner to the Tax Commissioner’s Office between January 1 and April 1 of that tax year. Any taxpayer who fails to return his property for taxation shall be deemed to have returned for taxations the same property at the same final valuation as and same real property exemptions as for the preceding year.A property owner who is dissatisfied with the assessed value of their property may also file a return stating their opinion of the true Fair Market Value of the property as of January 1 of the tax year. This will establish appeal right if the value is changed again by the Tax Assessor’s Office.
Property owners must notify the Tax Assessor’s Office or Tax Commissioner’s Office immediately of any change in their mailing address. Georgia law requires that all tax notices are sent to the taxpayer at their last know address.
Mobile/Manufactured Home Permits
Owners of mobile homes that are located in McIntosh County on January 1 must pay the ad valorem taxes on the home by April 1 of each year and obtain their location permit at that time. Failure to pay the taxes and obtain the permit will result in a 10% tax penalty, issuance of a citation for appearance in McIntosh County Magistrate Court or possible sale of the mobile/manufactured home.
Mobile home owners desiring to declare a different value from the existing value on the home have 45 days to file an appeal with the Board of Tax Assessors. If a taxpayer is dissatisfied with the value change or corrections, the taxpayer has the right to appeal to the Board of Equalization within 21 days of the date of the notice.
Homeowner's Tax Relief Grant
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 an amount up to $8,000 in assessed value for all homeowners who received a homestead exemption. For the 2009 tax year, the Governor and General Assembly did not fund the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant. Declining state revenues during the current recession means there is no money for the State to give the tax relief to homeowners. Therefore, there will not be a credit for this grant on 2009 tax bills on properties with homestead exemption. According to legislation passed in 2009 (House Bill 143), the grant will only be made available in the future if state revenues grow at least 3% plus the rate of inflation. As a result, many Georgia homeowners will see a property tax increase of $200 to $300 on their 2009 tax bills.
Homestead exemptions have been enacted to reduce the burden of ad valorem taxation for Georgia homeowners. The exemptions apply to homestead property owned by the taxpayer and occupied as his or her legal residence. Homestead exemptions are deducted from the assessed value of the qualifying property (40% of the fair market value).
To receive the benefit of the homestead exemption, the taxpayer must file an initial application. The application is filed with the McIntosh County Tax Assessor'ss Office. First time homeowners need to bring a copy of their warranty deed to insure their application is filed correctly. With respect to all of the homestead exemptions, the Tax Assessor makes the final determination as to eligibility; however, if the application is denied the taxpayer must be notified and an appeal procedure is then available to the taxpayer.
Georgia law allows for the year-round filing of homestead applications but the application must be received by April 1 of the year for which the exemption is first claimed by the taxpayer. Homestead applications received after that date will be applied to the next tax year.
Once granted, the homestead exemption is automatically renewed each year and the taxpayer does not have to apply again unless there is a change of residence, ownership, or the taxpayer seeks to qualify for a different kind of exemption.
Under authority of the State Constitution several different types of homestead exemptions are provided. These are called State Exemptions. In addition, local governments are authorized to provide for increased exemption amounts. These are called Local County Exemptions. McIntosh County has such local county exemptions. The Local County Exemptions supersede the State Exemptions when the Local Exemption amount is greater than the State Exemption amount. The Tax Commissioner's office and Tax Assessor's Office can answer questions regarding the standard exemptions as well as any local exemptions that are in place.
The Standard Homestead Exemption is available to all homeowners who otherwise qualify by ownership and residency requirements and it is an amount equal to $2,000 which is deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property. The exemption applies to the maintenance and operation portion of the mill rate levy of the county and the county school system and the State mill rate levy. It does not apply to the portion of the mill rate levied to retire bonded indebtedness.
The Standard Elderly School Tax Homestead Exemption is an increased homestead exemption for homeowners 62 and older where the net income does not exceed $10,000 for the preceding year. This exemption applies only to school tax but it does include taxes levied to retire bonded indebtedness. The amount of the exemption is up to $10,000 deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property.
The Standard Elderly General Homestead Exemption is available to homeowners who otherwise qualify and who are 65 and older where the net income of the applicant and spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the preceding year. Social Security income and certain retirement income are excluded from the calculation of the income threshold. This exemption, which is in an amount up to $4,000 deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property, applies to county taxes, school taxes, and the state tax and it does apply to taxes levied to retire bonded indebtedness.
The Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption is available to certain disabled veterans in an amount up to $63,780 deducted from the 40% assessed value of the homestead property. This exemption applies to all ad valorem tax levies; however, it is restricted to certain types of very serious disabilities (that are service-connected disabilities) and proof of disability, either from the Veterans Administration or from a private physician in certain circumstances.
A similar exemption in the same amount is now available to the un-remarried surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces of the United States who was killed in any war or armed conflict engaged in by the United States. The surviving spouse must furnish appropriate documentation that spousal benefits are received as a result of the death of the armed forces member.
The Floating or Varying Homestead Exemption is an exemption which is available to homeowners 62 or older with gross household incomes of $30,000 or less. The exemption applies to state and county ad valorem taxes but it does not apply to school tax. The exemption is called a floating exemption because the amount of the exemption increases as the value of the homestead property is increased. However, since the exemption replaces any other state and county exemption already in place for the property, taxpayers should be very careful in making application since in many instances the granting of this exemption will initially at least increase the amount of taxes levied on the property.
Property Tax Deferral Program
In addition to the various homestead exemptions that are authorized, the law also provides a Property Tax Deferral Program whereby qualified homestead property owners 62 and older with gross household income of $15,000 or less may defer but not exempt the payment of ad valorem taxes on a part or all of the homestead property. Generally, the tax would be deferred until the property ownership changes or until such time that the deferred taxes plus interest reach a level equal to 85% of the fair market value of the property.
Specialized and Preferential Assessment Programs
Two general types of specialized or preferential assessment programs are available for certain owners of certain types of property. One of these programs authorizes assessment at 30% rather than 40% of fair market value for certain agricultural properties being used for bona fide agricultural purposes.
The second type of preferential program is the Conservation Use program which provides that certain agricultural property, timber land property, environmentally sensitive property, or residential transitional property is to be valued and assessed for ad valorem tax purposes at its current use value rather than its fair market value.
Each of these specialized or preferential programs requires the property owner to covenant with the Board of Tax Assessors to maintain the property in its qualified use for at least 10 years in order to qualify for the preference. The Board of Tax Assessors can explain the ownership and use restrictions regarding property qualifying for either of these programs.
Rehabilitated and Landmark Historic Property
Historic property that qualifies for listing on the Georgia National Register of Historic Places may qualify for preferential assessment. The preferential assessment shall extend to the building or structure, the real property on which the building or structure is located, and not more than two acres surrounding the building or structure. The Board of Tax Assessors can explain the ownership and use restrictions regarding property qualifying for this assessment.
Property which qualifies for participation in the State's Hazardous Site Reuse and Redevelopment Program and which has been designated as such by the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources may qualify for preferential assessment. This special program provides for the preferential assessment of environmental and contaminated property by freezing the value for ten years as an incentive for developers to clean up the property and return it to the tax rolls. The Board of Tax Assessors can explain the ownership and use restrictions regarding property qualifying for this assessment.
Vehicle Tag Renewals
New residents must register their vehicles within thirty days of establishing residency in Georgia. A Georgia Driver's License must be obtained before registering your vehicle, showing a McIntosh County address.
Out-of-state titles must be surrendered and transferred to Georgia titles (year models 1985 and older are not required to be titled in Georgia). If there is a lien on the vehicle and you do not have the title, we must have the current registration and name and address of the lien holder. Additionally leased vehicles require an original power of attorney from the leasing company.
Georgia liability insurance is required to be transmitted to the state's data base by your insurance company in order to register your vehicle. The vehicle must be covered by liability insurance at all times or a lapse in coverage penalty will apply. If you cancel the insurance, you must also cancel the registration.
Tag renewal notices will no longer be mailed. Tags expire on the birthday of the first owner. Penalties apply after the birthday deadline.
It is the vehicle owner's responsibility to insure their vehicle is properly registered.
The penalty for late registration is 10% of the tax ($5.00 minimum) and 25% of the tag fee. These penalties begin immediately following the due date.
New and Used Vehicles
Vehicles must be titled before they can be registered. Newly purchased vehicles from a dealer must be registered within 30 days. Vehicles purchased from an individual or a private business must be registered in 7 days. Title ad valorem tax is due anytime a vehicle title work is processed.
If you sell a vehicle, you keep your tag. Tags can be transferred to new vehicles that are registered to the same first owner. Proof of title (bill of sale for 1985 and older) is required to purchase a tag or transfer a tag from a vehicle you no longer own.
For further information regarding vehicle registration please visit the State of Georgia Motor Vehicle Division website at http://dor.georgia.gov/motor-vehicles
In order to be exempt from ad valorem taxes, a PT-471 (Service Member’s Affidavit for Exemption of Ad Valorem Taxes for Motor Vehicles) must be submitted annually. This form must be signed by the service member’s Commander and notarized when the service member signs. NO COPIES or FAXES will be accepted. Print your PT-471 form here.
Property tax bills are normally mailed out by September 13 of each year. Taxes are due November 15 of the same year.
Partial payments on taxes are accepted, but after the due date an interest fee is added each month. After 120 days past due a penalty of 5% is added every 120 days up to 20% of the principal amount of the tax originally due. Real property includes tax on land and improvements. Personal property refers to tax on furniture, fixtures, tools, inventory, and equipment used in the operation of a business.
Timber tax and heavy duty equipment tax are collected in this office.
Intangible tax is collected by the Clerk of Superior Court.
All mobile homes must display a current mobile home decal. The annual decals are issued upon payment of ad valorem taxes to this office each year. Tax bills for mobile homes are generally mailed in January and are due by April 1.
Please contact us with any questions you may have concerning taxes in McIntosh County.
Our new website provides citizens the convenience for Searching and Paying Taxes Online, along with the following:
Our office will be closed on the following days:
McIntosh County Website
McIntosh County Tax Assessor
McIntosh County Schools
McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce
Georgia Department of Revenue - Tag Renewal
Georgia Department of Driver Services
Wanda G. Nelson
McIntosh County Tax Commissioner
1200 North Way
Darien, GA 31305
P.O. Box 571
Darien, GA 31305
Monday - Friday
8:00 am to 4:30 pm
* = Required