Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ad Valorem Property Tax?

Ad Valorem is Latin for “according to value”. It is a tax based on the value of real estate or personal property and is collected annually.

Who determines my property value?

The White County Assessors Office determines your property value. The appraisal staff will visit and review your property once every three years or whenever a building permit is issued. You may also request a review of your property.

How does the Assessors Office determine the value of my property?

The Assessors Office determines property value using three approaches and local market information:

The Cost Approach: This approach is based on the local market estimate of what it would cost to replace or reproduce your structures, minus depreciation, plus your land value.

The Sales Approach: Your property is valued based on local sales of like properties.

The Income Approach: Your property is valued based on the amount of income it produces.

Why did my property value increase, I made no changes to my property?

When local sales reflect increasing values, this means that your property may be worth more than the Assessors Office appraisal. When this occurs, the Assessors Office may increase property values to adjust for the difference. Likewise, when local sales reflect declining values, the Assessors Office may decrease your appraised value.

I have made changes to my property after January 1st. Will my property record reflect those changes immediately?

No. The date of assessment in Georgia is January 1st each year. Any changes to your property after the date of assessment will be reflected in the following tax year.

I think there is an error on my property record. What should I do to correct this?

If you think your property is assessed incorrectly, or if you think there is an error on your property record, you may file a Return of Real Property between January 1st and April 1st of any tax year. The Assessors Office will send a member of the Appraisal Staff to your property to confirm any discrepancies and any changes made will be reflected on your Annual Notice of Assessment for that year.

How do I know what my property is valued at each year?

The Assessors Office will send an Annual Notice of Assessment each year, to each property owner in White County. This notice will have your property’s identifying information, the appraised value and the assessed value. It will also have an estimate of taxes owed for that year.

What is the difference in Appraised Value and Assessed Value?

The Appraised Value of your property is the 100% estimate of value. The Assessed Value is 40% of the Appraised Value and also the value on which your taxes are calculated.

I disagree with the value of my property. Can I appeal the value set by the Assessors Office?

Yes. Each year when you receive your Annual Notice of Assessment you may make an appeal within 45 days of the date on the notice. The appeal deadline will also be printed on your notice each year. You can find appeal forms here. You must state your opinion of value for your appeal to be valid.

I missed the 45 day appeal period, can I appeal anyway?

No. Once the 45 day appeal period has ended, you have waived your right to appeal for that tax year.

Can I file my appeal via fax or by email?

No. Appeals must be made in writing and originals must be received or postmarked by the last day to appeal.

I am elderly, is there any reduction in property tax available based on my age?

A taxpayer may qualify for homestead exemption if he or she resides in White County as a permanent resident and is not receiving homestead exemption on any other home in any other county or state. Beginning at age 62, the exemption may be increased if a taxpayer meets certain criteria based on age and income. Please contact our office, or read more about homestead exemption here.

My property value didn’t change, why did my tax bill go up?

Each year the County Board of Commissioners, the County Board of Education and the Cities of Cleveland and Helen adopt a millage rate based on the financial needs of each entity. When millage rates are increased, your tax bill increases – even if your value is the same as last year. Only taxpayers residing within the city limits of Cleveland and Helen are affected by increases to the city millage rate.

When can I apply for homestead exemption? What do I need to apply?

Taxpayers who own a home in White County, and who were residing full time in that home as of January 1, may apply for homestead exemption at any time, however, application must be made by April 1st to apply for that tax billing year. If application is made after April 1st, the exemption will be for the following tax year’s bill. The staff will ask for a valid Georgia picture I.D. with a White County address as proof of residency.

I missed the deadline to file for homestead exemption. Can the Board of Assessors waive the deadline?

No. The Board of Assessors does not have jurisdiction to override the application deadline of April 1st. Any application taken after the deadline will be applied for the following tax year.

April 1st falls on a day when your office is closed. Can I apply the next day that your office is open?

Yes. Whenever a filing deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, taxpayers have until the next business day to apply.

Do I have to apply for homestead exemption every year?

No, once you apply for homestead it remains on your property record until changes are made in the ownership. If you file any deed which changes the name/names of property owners on your homesteaded property, please review your assessment notice carefully to confirm that your homestead exemption remained in place. Or, if you are making changes in ownership, you may contact our office for further instructions.

I live in a mobile home and I own my land. Can I get homestead exemption?

Yes, if it is your primary residence and you are not claiming homestead on any other property.

I have a recreational vehicle which I live in and I own my campground lot. Can I get homestead exemption?

No. A recreational vehicle is a tagged vehicle in the State of Georgia and is considered personal property. Only real property can be homesteaded.

I own a home in White County in my name, and my spouse owns a home in another county that is not in my name. Can we get homestead in both places?

No. Georgia law states that only one homestead exemption may be claimed per household. Falsifying a homestead application in Georgia is a misdemeanor and may result in both homestead exemptions being revoked.

I own 10 or more acres of agriculture use property. Is there a tax break for farmland?

Yes. Taxpayers who own 10 or more acres of non-commercial property may qualify for Conservation Use Assessment in Georgia. This is a covenant with the State of Georgia which restricts the use and sale of the property for a ten year period, while providing a significant reduction in tax liability. If the covenant is broken before the ten year period expires, substantial penalties are levied. For more information please contact or office or click here to read more about Conservation Use Assessment.

Can I pay my tax bill at the Assessor’s Office?

No. The Assessor’s Office is responsible for determining the value of your property. Tax bills are generated and collected by the White County Tax Commissioner and can be paid at the White County Tax Commissioner’s Office located at 113 N. Brooks St., Cleveland, GA 30528.

I think my tax bill is too high. Can I appeal my tax bill?

No. In Georgia, a tax bill is not appealable. You can however, appeal your assessment when you receive your Annual Notice of Assessment each year. The appeal of assessment must be filed within 45 days of the date on the notice.

I purchased a property in White County after January 1st, but I did not receive an assessment notice. Why?

The date of assessment in Georgia is January 1, so any deeds filed after that date are worked for the following tax year, because the seller is the owner of record for the current year. The taxes for the year in which you purchased the property should be addressed at your real estate closing with your closing attorney.

I need to change my mailing address. Can I do that over the phone?

No. The Assessor’s Office requires that change of address requests be submitted in writing.

What is Personal Property?

Business Personal Property assets are any furniture, fixtures, equipment, machinery and inventory used in the normal course of your business. Leased and rented equipment must also be reported, however, these assets are reported separately from the owned assets. Boats and Aircraft are also considered Personal Property in Georgia.

Am I required to report Personal Property assets to the Assessor’s Office?

Yes, all business owners should report their business personal property assets each year, regardless of value. Boat owners and Aircraft owners should report their assets each year also.

Is there a form for reporting Personal Property assets?

Yes, business personal property assets must be reported on a form PT-50P. Boats must be reported on a form PT-50M and Aircraft must be reported on a form PT-50A. These forms are available from our office upon request.

Is there a deadline for filing my Personal Property forms?

Yes. Assets owned as of January 1st of each year must be returned on or before April 1st of each year.

What if I close my business, or sell my boat or aircraft?

If you close, sell or move your business, or sell your boat or aircraft, please notify the White County Assessors Office immediately to avoid any further personal property assessments.

Does everyone have to pay tax on business personal property?

No. If the Fair Market Value of ALL business assets and any boats, motors and aircraft located in White County is below $7,500 then the assets are exempt from personal property tax.

Does White County have Freeport Exemption for Business Personal Property?

White County offers Level 1 Freeport only. Please contact our office for more information on how to qualify for Freeport Exemption.

Contact Us

Bryan Payne
Chief Appraiser

Address:
1241 Helen Hwy
Suite 180
Cleveland, GA 30528

Phone: (706)-865-5328

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.