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April 1 deadline for tax changes
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Kimberly Boim

Senior citizens, property owners and disabled veterans in Dawson County have until April 1 to take advantage of several important tax exemptions.

Seniors are eligible for four tax exemptions, according to the Georgia Department of Revenue. But they must meet income-eligibility requirements to qualify.

Starting at age 62, seniors may apply for the Elderly School Tax to be exempt from $20,000 in school taxes and bonds provided income levels are below $12,000. Also at age 62, seniors may apply for an Elderly exemption on $10,000 in county taxes and $10,000 in county bonds. Income must be less than $25,000 to qualify for local exemptions. At 65, seniors can be exempted from $8,000 in county taxes and bonds, $8,000 in school taxes, and $4,000 in state taxes. Income must be less than $10,000 to qualify. At 75, seniors are 100 percent exempt from school taxes, provided income levels are less than $25,000. Disabled veterans are eligible for exemptions for $116,000 in county taxes and $120,000 in school taxes. There are no age or income requirements. Unmarried surviving spouses are also eligible for these exemptions. Additionally, disabled veterans and the unmarried surviving spouse may be granted an exemption of $50,000 in a homestead exemption (as part of the $116,000 and $120,000 exemptions, respectively). The best way to apply for exemptions is to visit our office and pick up the forms, said Michael Roberts, chief appraiser for Dawson County. We will need their drivers license and proof of income. Residents who own property in Dawson County may apply for a one-time homestead exemption of $2,000 off the assessed value of residential property. The residence must be owner-occupied as of Jan. 1 and must be the primary residence and the only home owned that is being claimed as an exemption, according to Sallie Ledbetter, office manager, Dawson County Tax Assessors office. The $2,000 exemption is deducted from the 40 percent assessed value of the homestead. Tax assessment notices are sent each May. Property owners have 45 days from receipt of notice to appeal the tax assessors decision. If a property owner disagrees with the tax assessors office on the valuation of his or her property, the taxpayer has a right under Georgia law to appeal the assessment. Owners must complete form PT-311A, which can be found on the Georgia Department of Revenues website. Once appealed, the tax assessors office then agrees or disagrees with the owners valuation statement. If the taxpayer disagrees, he or she may appeal to the Dawson County Board of Equalization, and then to the Dawson County Superior Court. Detailed information on assessment appeals, homestead exemptions, and preferential and specialized assessment programs for agricultural, conservation and forest land may be found at HYPERLINK On the left side, click Important Tax Information Brochure.