Ad valorem tax, more commonly known as property tax, is a large source of revenue for local government in Georgia. The basis for ad valorem taxation is the fair market value of the property which is established as of January 1 of each year. The tax is levied on the assessed value of the property which, by law, is established at 40% of fair market value. The amount of tax is determined by the tax rate (mill rate) levied by City Council (one mill is equal to $1.00 for each $1,000 of assessed value, or .001).
County Board of Tax Assessors
The County Board of Tax Assessors, are appointed for fixed terms by the governing authority in all counties except one and are responsible for determining taxability; the appraisal, assessment, and the equalization of all assessments within the county. They notify taxpayers when fair market value changes are made to the value of the property and they receive and review all appeals file. The Board insures that the appeal process proceeds properly. In addition, they have the final approval on all exemptions claimed by the taxpayer.
The board meets every Monday at 9:00am in the East Wing of the Columbus Government Center.
County Board of Equalization
The Muscogee County Board of Equalization, appointed by the Grand Jury, is the body charged by law with hearing and adjudicating administrative appeals as to values, denial of Homestead, Freeport, and taxability to property values and assessments made by the board of tax assessors. (Note: An arbitration method of appeal is available to the taxpayer in lieu of an appeal to the board of equalization at the option of the taxpayer at the time the appeal is filed).
Columbus City Council, an elected body establish the budget for county government operations each year, and then they levy the mill rate necessary to fund the portion of the budget to be paid for by ad valorem tax.
County Board of Education
The County Board of Education, an elected body, establishes the annual budget for school purposes and they then recommend their mill rate, which, with very few exceptions, must be levied for the school board by the City Council.
State Revenue Commissioner
The Georgia State Revenue Commissioner exercises general oversight of the entire ad valorem tax process. In addition, the State levies ad valorem tax each year in an amount which cannot exceed one-fourth of one mill (.00025).