§ 48-5-52. Exemption from ad valorem taxation for educational purposes of homesteads of qualified individuals 62 or older; application; replacement of revenue
(a) The homestead of each resident of each independent school district and of each county school district within this state who is 62 years of age or older and, for the purposes of all tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2003, whose net income together with the net income of the spouse who also occupies and resides at such homestead, as net income is defined by Georgia law from all sources, except as otherwise provided in this subsection, does not exceed $10,000.00 for the immediately preceding taxable year for income tax purposes, is exempted from all ad valorem taxes for educational purposes levied by, for, or on behalf of any such school system, including taxes to retire school bond indebtedness. For the purposes of this subsection, net income shall not include income received as retirement, survivor, or disability benefits under the federal Social Security Act or under any other public or private retirement, disability, or pension system, except such income which is in excess of the maximum amount authorized to be paid to an individual and his or her spouse under the federal Social Security Act. Income from such sources in excess of such maximum amount shall be included as net income for the purposes of this subsection. The exemption shall not exceed $10,000.00 of the homestead’s assessed value. Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, the value of that property in excess of such exempted amount shall remain subject to taxation.
(b)(1) The exemption provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section shall not be granted unless an affidavit of the owner of the homestead, prepared upon forms prescribed by the commissioner for that purpose, is filed with either the tax receiver or tax commissioner, in the case of residents of county school districts, or with the governing authority of the owner’s city, in the case of residents of independent school districts.
(2) The affidavit shall in the first year for which the exemption is sought be filed on or before the last day for making a tax return and shall show the:
(A) Age of the owner on January 1 immediately preceding the filing of the affidavit;
(B) Total amount of income received by the owner from all sources during the immediately preceding calendar year;
(C) Total amount of income received from all sources by each individual member of the owner’s family residing within the homestead; and
(D) Such additional information as may be required by the commissioner.
(3) Copies of all affidavits received or extracts of the information contained in the affidavits shall be forwarded to the commissioner by the various taxing authorities with whom the affidavits are filed. The commissioner is authorized to compare such information with information contained in any income tax return, sales tax return, or other tax documents or records of the department and to report immediately to the appropriate county or city taxing authority any apparent discrepancies between the information contained in any affidavit and the information contained in any other tax records of the department.
(4) After the owner has filed the affidavit and has once been allowed the exemption provided for in this Code section, it shall not be necessary to make application and file the affidavit thereafter for any year and the exemption shall continue to be allowed to such owner; provided, however, that it shall be the duty of any such owner to notify the tax commissioner or tax receiver in the event the owner becomes ineligible for any reason for the exemption provided for in this Code section.
(c) The homestead exemption granted by this Code section shall extend to and shall apply to those properties the legal title to which is vested in one or more titleholders when such property is actually occupied as a residence by one or more of the titleholders who possess the qualifications provided in subsection (a) of this Code section and who claim the exemption in the manner provided for in this Code section. The exemption shall also extend to those homesteads the title to which is vested in a personal representative or trustee if one or more of the heirs or beneficiaries residing on the property possess the qualifications provided for and claim the exemption in the manner provided in this Code section.
(d)(1) The State Board of Education, when funds are specifically appropriated for the purpose of replacing revenue lost by local school systems as a result of this Code section, shall provide each school district in this state which, on July 1, 1974, had in effect a tax levy of 20 mills or more for educational purposes or was levying the maximum permissible tax authorized by law for educational purposes, with grants for educational purposes which shall equal the revenues lost by the school district due to the exemption provided by this Code section for property located within the school district.
(2) The State Board of Education may promulgate reasonable rules to carry out this subsection.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1974, p. 183, §§ 1-4; Code 1933, § 91A-1117, enacted by Ga. L. 1978, p. 309, § 2; Ga. L. 1981, p. 1857, § 16; Ga. L. 1984, p. 1437, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 2, § 2; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1092, § 1.