Fulton County Update from Commissioner Ellis
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Exemptions and tax caps can be confusing
Fulton County mailed out 2019 tax assessment notices on June 18 and by now, you likely have reviewed the numbers. Your assessment may have gone up. However, even if you have seen an increase in your property value, changes approved by voters last November may protect you from huge jumps in your actual tax bill and potentially can reduce your overall property tax bill compared to the amounts that you paid in 2018. We know this is confusing so here is some information that may be helpful.
The Basics
  • Every Fulton County property is assessed and must be within 10% of Fair Market value, according to Georgia law.
  • Your property has a fair market value which is the price a buyer would be willing to pay to purchase it.
  • The value is determined by a property's size, age, construction, location and sale of comparable properties.
  • The assessed value of your home is 40% of the fair market value (e.g. Fair market value = $100,000, Assessed value = $40,000)
  • Net taxable value is the difference between your 40% assessment and all your exemptions.
  • Not all properties are eligible for exemptions. The most common exemption is the homestead exemption, however there are a myriad of other exemptions which may apply and new exemptions which passed via voter referendums in 2018 take effect in 2019.
Changes for 2019
  • Voters passed measures last November that set caps on the city and school portion of your bill for several cities in Fulton (including Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton and Mountain Park) as well as the Fulton County school system.  Fulton County government and the City of Sandy Springs have had the measures in place for several years.
  • The measures passed have no impact on your actual assessed value.  Your actual assessment can see large swings in value.
  • The measures serve to create a cap in the growth of your taxable assessed value by increasing the dollar amount of your homestead exemption. These are commonly referred to as floating homestead exemptions.
  • Unfortunately, tax laws seem to always have some degree of complexity to them and these new measures are no exception to that norm.
  • These new exemptions also set the BASE YEAR for determining the amount of the exemption as the lowest assessed value among the 2016, 2017 and 2018 taxable years plus an established inflation rate.  For most people, the base year used to establish the exemption will be 2016.
  • In a nutshell, that amount will become your baseline from which your taxable value will be calculated for your city and school taxes. Going forward, your net taxable valuation should not go up more than the rate of inflation or 3%, whichever is less.
  • Fulton County government handles exemptions and tax collections for Fulton County Schools but does not do so for several cities, so you may not see the impact of the exemptions on your City taxes on your 2019 notice of assessment. However, you should see the impact on your school taxes.
  • The easiest way to see the impact of the exemption is to compare your estimated Fulton County School tax for 2019 with your actual Fulton County School tax bill in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
  • If you do not feel that your exemptions are being applied appropriately, you should contact the Fulton County Tax Assessor for answers and/or appeal if you are not getting an explanation you feel is correct.
2019 New Homestead Exemptions

Fulton County Government Senior Homestead Exemption
 Fulton Schools Floating Homestead Exemption
 City of Atlanta Floating Homestead Exemption
 Atlanta Public Schools Increased Basic Homestead Exemption
 City of Alpharetta Floating Homestead Exemption*
 City of Roswell Floating Homestead Exemptions*
 City of Johns Creek Floating Homestead Exemption
 City of Milton Floating Homestead Exemption*
 City of Mountain Park Floating Homestead Exemption

*This city issues its own tax bills. Therefore, city homestead exemptions are not reflected on assessment notices but will be reflected on city tax bills.

The new Fulton County Senior Homestead Exemption was applied to properties with an existing 65+ Senior exemption. Qualifying property owners age 65+ who do not have an existing age-based homestead exemption must apply.

Homestead and special exemption applications filed by April 1, 2019 will be applicable for tax year 2019. Applications received after April 1, 2019 will be effective for tax year 2020.


Technology Upgrades
Since 2017, Fulton County has made significant investments in new technology to enhance the property assessment process.

By viewing their property record online, the property owner can view a great deal of information about their property, including photos, sketches and maps.

Property owners can create a “SmartFile” account, which allows them to submit a correction to the property record, or file an appeal. Property owners can also apply for homestead exemptions. To create a SmartFile, go to
Is this a tax bill?
  • Your assessment is NOT a bill
  • The estimate of taxes does NOT reflect the current year's millage rates that will be set by your school district, municipality and Fulton County in the weeks ahead
  • Once rates are set, your taxes are calculated by: Taxable Value x Millage Rate = Property Tax Amount
Can I appeal my property tax assessment?
  • You can appeal for a variety of reasons including value, uniformity, incorrect physical properties, gentrification (McMansions being built around you) and exemptions not applied
  • You have 45 days from the date of your assessment to appeal
  • Appeal online, in person or by mail (recommend sending by certified mail)
  • You must pay your temporary bill or risk additional penalties and fees
  • Properties under appeal are billed at 85% but you may choose to be billed at 100%
  • File an appeal electronically
  • Print an appeal form found at

Click on this link to find a guide that will help you better understand your assessment notice. There is also glossary of key terms.

Need more information?

Bob Ellis
Fulton County District 2

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