My Property Taxes Are Going Up: What Can I Do?

Written by Joel Gerber. Posted in Property Taxes

Many of you have enjoyed lower property taxes for the past many years during the economic downturn. Especially those of you who locked in your Stephens-Day value (the ceiling for a majority of your tax bill) back in 2003-2007 when property values were high. Now that home values are rising again, what can you do to minimize your property tax liability? If you already have filed your homestead exemption and your taxes have been increasing the last year or so, you might consider placing a “tax freeze” on the assessed value of your home.

Under Georgia law, a property owner may notify the Tax Assessor that she would like to maintain her current property value for three (3) years. The most common time to notify the tax assessor of such “freeze” is in or around May each year when Notices of Assessment are mailed. The advantage of requesting that the tax value be maintained for three (3) years means just what it sounds like – your property’s assessed value will not change for three (3) years – even as property values continue to rise. This rule does have certain exceptions – the most common one being that the “freeze” will be removed if a building permit is issued for your property.

I know, I know, it seems too good to be true. Please note, however, that while your tax value is “frozen”, your property’s tax assessed value cannot go down (subject to a few rare exceptions). In a market of increasing property values, generally this is not an issue.

While a “tax freeze” may be beneficial for a majority of you, no one rule works for every circumstance. If you have any questions regarding the information above, please contact me at (912) 484-1996 or

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