According to GA Law, all manufactured homes must display a current decal on or before April 1st each year. This law applies to manufactured homes located in both incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county. The decal aids in identification and serves as evidence that there are no outstanding taxes on the manufactured home. The decal should be placed on the home in a location which would make it easily visible to employees of the tax assessor’s office when they visit the property to inspect the home. Decals from previous years do not have to be displayed on the manufactured home, only the decal for the current year.
Manufactured home owners are billed for the entire tax year based on the manufactured home(s) which they owned on January 1st. If a person trades in one manufactured home for another during the year, that person would pay taxes on the original home for that year, and would pay taxes on the new one the following year. The tax bill is based on the fair market value of the home as determined by the tax assessor’s office and the current millage rate as set by the governing authorities each year. For billing purposes, manufactured homes are classified as either Homestead or Non-Homestead manufactured homes. Homestead manufactured homes are those which the owner has applied for and is receiving a homestead exemption on the land and home. Non-Homestead manufactured homes are those which are not receiving the exemption.
What is the Homestead Exemption?
The standard homestead exemption is $2,000 taken from the assessed value of the land and home. The assessed value in Georgia is always 40% of the fair market value, and is the value to which the millage rate is applied on the bill. This means that home owners who are receiving a standard homestead exemption pay taxes on an assessed value that is $2,000 less than it would be without the exemption. Assuming a millage rate of 20.50, this would mean a savings of $41 on the same value if the exemption is applied. To qualify for homestead exemption for a given year, the manufactured home and the land on which it is situated must be owned by the same person, and the person must live in the manufactured home on January 1st of the year of the exemption. The deadline for applying for homestead exemption is March 1st of the year you are applying. You may be eligible for an additional exemption over the standard $2,000 if you meet certain age and income requirements. Please contact the Tax Assessor’s Office if you wish to apply for homestead exemption or if the status, ownership, or residency has changed since this status affects how the manufactured home is billed.
How Manufactured Homes are billed?
Non-Homestead manufactured home bills are mailed out each year in January, and these bills are due by April 1st , which is also the deadline for displaying the decal. Upon payment of this bill, the owner receives a decal for the current year. For example, if a person had a non-homestead manufactured home on Jan 1st, 2006, they would receive a bill for it in January, which would be due by April 1st, 2006 and upon payment the owner would receive a 2006 decal, valid until April 1st, 2007.
Homestead manufactured homes are billed in a different manner than non-Homestead manufactured homes, since they are taxed together with the land they occupy instead of individually. For a homestead manufactured home, the manufactured home value is added to the value of the owner’s land. When the owner receives their property tax bill, the bill is based on the value of both the manufactured home and the land as of January 1st of that year. These bills are due usually around the end of December or the first few days of January. Since Homestead manufactured homes are not actually billed until the end of the tax year, and since all manufactured homes must display a current decal by April 1st , the owner of a Homestead manufactured home is given a decal for the following year, upon payment of the current year’s taxes. Accordingly, those who are Homestead actually receive their manufactured home decals a year in advance. For example: If a person were receiving homestead on a manufactured home on Jan 1st, 2005, they would receive one bill around the end of October 2005 for the value of both their land and their manufactured home. Upon paying this bill for the year 2005, they would receive a 2006 decal.
**** IF THE TAXPAYER OWNS THE PARCEL OF LAND WHERE THE MOBILE HOME IS LOCATED, THERE WILL BE SEPARATE TAX BILLS FOR THE LAND AND MOBILE HOME UNTIL HOMESTEADED****
Vacant and Abandoned Manufactured Homes
GA law requires that ALL manufactured homes, even those which are not being used or are used only for storage, must display a current decal each year by April 1st. If you own an abandoned manufactured home which is in poor condition and feel that it is valued excessively for tax purposes, you must contact the Tax Assessor’s Office before April 1st so that we may inspect the home and reconsider the value for that tax year. Manufactured homes are removed from the tax digest completely only in cases in which the Tax Assessor’s Office has deemed the mobile home junked or worthless for any use. In any case, the home must be inspected by a member of the Tax Assessor’s Office in order for us to determine its taxable status and value.
Moving Manufactured Homes without a Decal
It is illegal to move a manufactured home on which a current decal is not displayed. Before attempting to move a manufactured home, even if it is being moved out of the county, make sure all taxes are paid and that the home is displaying a current decal. GA law provides for a fine of up to $1,000 for anyone convicted of moving a manufactured home without a current decal.
Manufactured Homes Moved from Other Counties
Anyone who wishes to register and obtain a decal in Bulloch County for a manufactured home which has been previously situated in another county must first provide proof that the current taxes have been paid in that county. The manufactured home can then be properly registered for taxes in Bulloch County and a decal provided at no charge for that year. The owner will get a tax bill for the home the following year, provided the home is still in Bulloch County on Jan 1st .
Buying and Selling Manufactured Homes
Any time a manufactured home is bought or sold, the buyer or seller should contact the Tax Assessor’s Office with the required information immediately so that the tax record can be updated to reflect the change. When registering a manufactured home for taxes, a person should provide proof of ownership in the form of a Bill of Sale or Title. If you receive a tax bill for a manufactured home you have sold before Jan 1st of the tax year on the bill, contact the tax assessors office (912-764-2181) with the purchaser’s information. Changing the name on a manufactured home title does not automatically change the name on the tax bill. It is the owner’s responsibility to inform the Tax Assessor’s Office of any change that would affect their tax record, as well as any changes in address.
Please be aware that when buying a used manufactured home from another party, the new owner cannot receive a current decal for the manufactured home until all outstanding taxes, if any, have been paid. Tax liability for manufactured homes are always transferred to the current owner. If you purchase a used manufactured home you should determine whether or not the manufactured home has outstanding taxes due.
Manufactured Home Values
The Tax Assessor’s Office is charged with the responsibility of determining the fair market value of your manufactured home for tax purposes each year. This value should reflect the value of your manufactured home as of Jan 1st of the tax year and includes the value of any decks, porches, or other additions or other improvements to the home. If you have a question about your value or feel that it is excessive, contact our office so that we may reconsider the value. The deadline to appeal non-homestead manufactured home values is April 1st. Instructions for appealing values for homestead manufactured homes are printed on your Property Tax Assessment Notice, which is mailed in the summer. The ad valorem tax notice for a non-homestead manufactured home also serves as the assessment notice for the same year as the tax bill.
Before moving a manufactured home in the unincorporated areas of the county be sure that all zoning requirements have been met and that a Manufactured Home Permit has been obtained. The Building & Zoning Department is located behind the North Main Annex on N Walnut St and can be reached at (912) 489-1356.
*** For information regarding what documentation is needed to register a manufactured home, please contact the Bulloch County Tax Assessors Office at 912-764-2181.