Outrage in Georgia as one home owes $8 in property taxes and another with the same value owes $3,326

Property taxes vary by state and even by county, but some local quirks can put new homeowners at a much greater disadvantage.

One such place with big differences for homeowners is Muscogee County, Georgia. Here, taxes can vary based on the year a home was purchased.

One expert pointed out that the property taxes of owners of two comparable homes worth $330,000 a year can differ by thousands of dollars.

One family who bought their home in 1980 paid less than $8 in property taxes last year.

For comparison, another home of similar value purchased five years ago had $3,236 in debt.

In November, Georgia residents will vote on whether to limit assessed property values ​​to inflation

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The huge difference in bills is the result of a local law passed in Muscogee County in 1982, the Associated Press reported.

The local rule, which was publicly voted on at the time, froze the value of primary residential real estate for tax purposes.

This means that people who previously bought a home in the region pay property tax. This tax is calculated on the value of their home at the time of purchase.

But people who buy a home later face taxes that steadily increase over time as the appraised value of a home rises.

The result: Longtime homeowners pay very little, newcomers pay more, and businesses face some of the highest property tax rates in the state.

“Every time you grant an exemption, you create an inequity,” Suzanne Widenhouse, the county’s chief appraiser, told the AP.

In November, Georgia residents will have the chance to vote on a proposal to amend the state constitution to limit assessed property values ​​to the rate of inflation.

However, if the measure passes and is put to a referendum, the previous increases will not be reversed.

Georgia cities, county governments and local school boards could find a one-time way out of the new measure if it passes (Stock photo of Georgia homes)
Georgia property tax revenues increased 41 percent from 2018 to 2022 (Stock photo of Georgia real estate)

If the bill passes, Georgia cities, county governments and local school boards would have a one-time option to opt out in early 2025.

Georgia property tax revenues rose 41 percent from 2018 to 2022, while total assessed value increased nearly 39 percent, AP reported.

State lawmakers told the publication that rising property taxes are one of the top concerns voters hear.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Hufstetler described the proposed tax cap as “great tax legislation to provide short-term relief to taxpayers and, above the cap, keep their taxes low in the long run.”