Overview

The information in this web site is intended to aid you in understanding your rights and responsibilities relating to property tax in Oconee County. A small web page cannot cover the many and complex tax laws in Georgia. If you have questions or need clarification, please call the office at 706-769-3917. My staff and I are here to help you.

For more detailed information about revenue and taxation, the Georgia Department of Revenue sponsors a web site where the annotated version of the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) can be viewed. Click HERE to visit this web site.

Purpose of this Site

The purpose of this site is to answer questions and provide general information to the public on taxation in Oconee County, Georgia. This site does not necessarily cover every aspect of property taxation and should not be relied upon as a legal source of information. Please refer to the specified code sections for specific limitations.

The Department of Revenue sponsors a web site where the non-annotated version of the Official Code of Georgia can be viewed. You can view this site by clicking HERE.

The Oconee County Tax Commissioner's Office should be contacted for more information on inquiries about billing and collection of property taxes, and the Oconee County Board of Tax Assessor's Office should be contacted for more information on property values. The phone number for the Tax Assessor is 706-769-3921.

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.

Where do property tax dollars go?

  • To support administration of county government and the public school system. Click HERE to learn how your tax dollars contribute to quality public education.
  • To build and repair public buildings and bridges.
  • To pay expenses of courts, county jail and law enforcement. Click HERE for information on how property taxes support public safety.
  • To build and maintain county roads. Click HERE for information on how tax dollars are used to improve area roads.
  • To provide First Responder and medical rescue services, including volunteer training and vehicles. Click HERE for information on how your tax dollars help save lives in Oconee County.
  • To provide for fire protection, including new facilities, trucks and firefighter training. Click HERE for statistics about fire protection and your tax dollars at work.
  • To provide for public health and sanitation, including recycling programs. Click HERE to see how your tax dollars support these efforts.
  • To support the county library system. Click HERE for information on how tax dollars are used to improve libraries in Oconee County.
  • To support recreational parks and programs, including after school programs, sports and camps. Click HERE to learn how your tax dollars help enhance the quality of life for Oconee County citizens.
  • To support historic preservation and community centers, including the County Civic Center and Bishop Community Center. Click HERE to see how your tax dollars support your community and help preserve its history.

This is an abbreviated list. Please see the Official Georgia Code for a complete list. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-220)

Who decides how much my property is worth for tax purposes?

The Board of Assessors has the responsibility of determining the value of property in Oconee 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 Oconee County Board of Tax Assessors by appealing to Oconee 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 Oconee 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 Oconee County Board of Commissioners and the Oconee 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 property tax bill due?

Taxes for real estate and business personal property are normally due in Oconee County on November 15th each year. Balances outstanding as of the applicable due date will be subject to interest and penalties set forth by Georgia law.

Interest accrues monthly at an annual rate equal to the bank prime loan rate as posted by the Federal Reserve plus 3% to accrue monthly (bank prime rate+3 then divided by 12 for the monthly rate). The applicable interest rate is released by the Department of Revenue on or after January 1 of each year. (O.C.G.A. 48-2-70)

A penalty in the amount of 5% of the principal balance due accrues every 120 days after the due date, not to exceed 20% total penalty. (O.C.G.A. 40-2-44). If the property taxes remain unpaid, the Tax Commissioner has the right and responsibility to levy on the property for non-payment.

Once a tax bill is mailed out, please feel free to contact our office about details in making payments until paid in full. Payment arrangements do not relieve the taxpayer from penalties and interest if not paid in full by the due date.

Is there any way to reduce my tax bill?

Yes. There are several exemptions and special assessment programs available. Contact the Oconee County Tax Assessor's Office for details of the available special assessment programs and Homestead exemptions.

What is and how do I file for homestead exemption?

Homestead exemption is the system developed to exempt from taxation a specified amount of assessed value of your home.

For homestead exemption, you must both own and occupy your home as of January 1. 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. Additional exemptions, based on income, are available for seniors who are 65 on January 1 of the qualifying year. Income verified by presentation of income tax returns.

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 record center. This office is located in the Oconee County Courthouse, 23 North Main Street, Watkinsville, Georgia. and can be reached at 706-769-3940

Do I pay taxes on my mobile/modular home?

Yes. Mobile/modular homes are considered personal property and are taxable. Taxes are due April 1. The owner of any mobile/modular home must obtain a location permit. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 45-5-493, it shall be unlawful to fail to attach and display on a mobile home the decal as required by code Section 45-5-432.