Gwinnett County is in a tight spot. A “perfect storm” of national economic woes, a maturing local economy and a lack of meaningful leadership has begun to write a sad chapter in our county’s otherwise stellar history. We face not one but several years of having to strike a balance between raising property taxes on already cash-strapped households and cutting essential government services.
We can weather the storm, but only with bold action and not a small amount of sacrifice. Read more…
The millage rate (also known as the tax rate) is a figure applied to the value of your property to calculate your property tax liability. One “mill” equals one dollar of tax on every thousand dollars of taxable value. Your tax dollars are used to fund the cost of your government each year.
There is only one way to correctly calculate the millage– it is simply one number divided by another. When your city, county or school board correctly “does the math,” the cost of government* is equally spread to all property owners based on the value of their property. You pay no more and no less than is required to fully fund the budget.
MillageRate.com’s “Max Millage Calculator” has been updated for 2009 and is now available by request.
With the “Max Millage Calculator,” you can easily figure out if your elected officials are setting your millage (tax) rate correctly. If they have adopted an incorrect tax rate (and over nine out of 10 cities, counties and school boards do it wrong), you may be paying too much in property taxes!
TheÂ spreadsheet is a great tool for concerned taxpayers and journalists who are trying to understand the budgeting and property taxation process. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request your Millage Calculator.
The millage rate calculation is not difficult. Here, step-by-step, is what your elected officials SHOULD do each year, and how you can estimate your own annual property tax bill:
The Government’s Role
1. The taxing authority must first formulate the budget, identifying all necessary expenditures. The budget process then projects expected non-tax revenue (fees, fines, interest income, franchise fees, etc.).
2. For most cities, counties and school boards, there will be a part of the budget that remains unfunded. That is the part that must be covered by your property taxes. It’s a revenue line item in the budget– we’ll call it [A].
3. Your Tax AssessorÂ values all property in the county for tax purposes. The total value BEFORE any exemptions is called the Gross Tax Digest. The Tax Commissioner, charged with collecting the taxes,Â then deducts from that number the value of any property completely exempt from property taxes, as well as the value of any other exemptions or deductions (homestead, senior, conservation use, etc.). The value that remains is called the Net Tax Digest. We’ll call it [B].
County Commissioner Kathie Gannon and the League of Women Voters will hold a public forum Nov. 10 on property tax assessments, exemptions and relevant bills in the Georgia Legislature. Knowing how your property taxes are assessed and what exemptions may apply is critical to all DeKalb property owners. Panel members will include county Chief Appraiser Eugene James, Tax Commissioner Tom Scott, state Sen. Dan Weber and state Rep. Stephanie Stuckey-Benfield. The forum will be 7 to 9 p.m. in the training room of the DeKalb County Memorial Drive Government Building, 4380 Memorial Drive. Information: 404-371-4909.