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Georgians must pay multiple forms of property tax

The state and local taxes Georgia residents pay on their properties and assets vary widely. In addition to the existence of multiple laws and statutes, there are also variances in methods of collection, property valuation and tax calculation to consider. All these factors can affect an individual's tax debt.

Taxes levied on buildings and land have long existed in national law. Taxes are collected by government agencies, and the amount they take depends on numerous factors. A taxpayers' obligations typically depend on the ownership status of their property. Real and personal property are both typically tax eligible, but some governments are changing their stances on stocks, bank accounts and bonds.

Property taxes have been observed to provide significant funding for important social services, like sanitation, education and emergency response. One kind of property tax, the ad valorem tax, is calculated as a percentage of the value of the asset being taxed. Ad valorem taxes account for most kinds of property tax, and they apply regardless if the asset in question is actively in use.

Taxpayers who own property, like vehicles, homes or land, may find they owe amounts they did not expect. Some realize their obligations changed after the fact, such as when the value of properties, like real estate, fluctuates. Those who fail to make up the difference in owed amounts may be subjected to tax liens; if unpaid, the interest on these penalties can mount until taxpayers owe significant sums. Although laws often change quickly, those who want to be certain of their obligations may find it helpful to learn about their legal options if they are unable to sustain their debts.

Source: Findlaw, "Property Tax Basics", December 29, 2014

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