As Georgia voters head to the polls, they will find 3 property tax measures on the ballot that require voter approval. A few of these bills were discussed in our 2022 Legislative Recap. Below is a synopsis of the measures:
Provides for temporary local tax relief after disasters.
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the governing authority of each county, municipality, and consolidated government and the board of education of each independent and county school system in this state shall be authorized to grant temporary tax relief to properties within its jurisdiction which are severely damaged or destroyed as a result of a disaster and located within a nationally declared disaster area?”
This amendment to the state constitution will allow local governments to provide temporary property tax relief to properties severely damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster. If the amendment passes, the legislature will revisit the issue next year to decide on the specifics of eligibility and procedures for such relief. It is my understanding that this legislation was prompted by the need for tax relief for property owners in Heard, Coweta, and Fayette counties following a tornado in March 2021.
Provides for ad valorem tax exemption for certain timber production, reforestation, and harvesting equipment.
“Shall the Act be approved which grants a state-wide exemption from all ad valorem taxes for certain equipment used by timber producers in the production or harvest of timber?”
This measure would extend property tax exemptions to equipment used in the timber industry, including harvesting timber and forest management. The State of Georgia is a leader in the timber industry, which brings over $20 billion in revenues annually.
Expands ad valorem tax exemption for family-owned farms and adds qualified products to the exemption.
“Shall the Act be approved which expands a state-wide exemption from ad valorem taxes for agricultural equipment and certain farm products held by certain entities to include entities comprising two or more family owned farm entities, and which adds dairy products and unfertilized eggs of poultry as qualified farm products with respect to such exemption?”
This referendum expands and clarifies exemptions on certain farm equipment and products. Proponents of the referendum say this expanded exemption will help farmers stay in business amid increasing costs.