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Ad valorem taxes (which means “according to the value”) are levied on real and personal property each year. Real property is land and any improvements such as buildings/houses or parking lots. Personal property is inventory and fixtures used in conducting business, boats, and machinery, etc. The basis for ad valorem taxation is the fair market value of the property as determined by the Chatham County Tax Assessor’s Office. Georgia law says only 40% of that value is taxable which is referred to as the assessed value.
Real Property is just another way of describing real estate; it is land and any improvements such as buildings/houses or parking lots. If you’re paying property taxes on a house, you’re paying Real Property taxes. Personal Property is inventory and fixtures used in conducting business, boats, and machinery, etc.
Property tax revenues are used by the City of Savannah for General Fund maintenance and operations. Property taxes fund services such as our police and fire departments; the development and maintenance of our parks, our streets and sidewalks; and the departments that manage planning and zoning, as well as neighborhood, housing, and economic development initiatives.
To learn more about the allocation of funds to programs and services offered by the City, please visit the Office of Management and Budget to view the latest City budget online.
The basis for ad valorem taxation is the fair market value of the property as determined by the Tax Assessor’s Office.
(Property Value x Assessment Rate) - Exemptions) x Property Tax Millage Rate = Tax Bill
Here is an example calculation for a home with a market value of $100,000 in the City of Savannah:
*Please note: locally, the School Board and Chatham County set and assess property taxes separately and in addition to the tax rate set and collected by the City of Savannah. Chatham county residents who reside within Savannah’s city limits are required to pay both County and City property taxes per Georgia law. Property owners in the County and City pay School Board taxes. School Board taxes are collected by the Chatham County Tax Commissioner.
Real Property taxes are billed annually in two installments. The first installment bills in April and is typically due mid-June.* The first installment bill is based on half of the prior year’s tax amount. For example, if a parcel was billed at $500 for 2019 taxes, the 2020 first installment bill is half of that amount, $250. The second installment bills in September and is typically due mid-November.* This bill reflects changes for the current year to the property value, exemptions, and the millage rate.
*Please note all due dates are set at the time bills are printed and may be subject to change.
No. Property tax payments must be received and posted to the account on or before the due date to be considered on time and avoid penalty or interest charges.
Yes. In accordance with O.C.G.A. 48-2-40-44, delinquent taxes are charged interest at an annual rate equal to the bank prime loan rate as posted by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System or any publication that may supersede it, plus 3 percent, to accrue monthly. Once taxes are 120 days late, a 5% penalty is added to all bills, except for Homestead property less than $500.00. The penalty will continue to accrue at 5% each additional 120 days up to a maximum of 20% of the principle amount due.
No. Failure to receive a tax bill does not relieve you of the responsibility to make payment by the due date. If you did not receive a tax bill, a copy of your bill is available online (www.savannahga.gov/propertytax). You may also contact the City of Savannah Revenue Department Property Tax Unit by phone at (912) 651-6455 or visit our office location (305 Fahm Street, Savannah, GA 31401) to obtain a copy of your bill Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The City does accept partial payments of taxes up to the second installment due date; however, to avoid interest or penalty, taxes must be paid in full on or before the second installment due date.
The City does not make payment arrangements for current or delinquent taxes.
Note: When paying your City property taxes online for your home or other real estate, please select "Real Property" from the text links, as seen below:
No, we do not send individual bills to mortgage companies; however, all major mortgage companies and third party tax processors are provided a copy of the complete billing file with each installment, and a delinquent file after the second installment due date passes.
The Chatham County Board of Assessor’s (BOA) appraisal staff determines and makes recommendations to the BOA. The Board of Assessors approves the values. The BOA website, which has more information about their process, can be found at https://boa.chathamcountyga.gov
Board of Assessors222 W Oglethorpe AveSuite #113Savannah, Georgia 31401
Phone: (912) 652-7271
A millage rate is the tax rate used to calculate local property taxes. The millage rate represents the amount per every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. Assigned millage rates are multiplied by the total taxable value of the property in order to arrive at the property taxes.
Millage gets its name from the Latin word "millesimum," or "mill" for short, which means "thousandth part" (1/1000). The term millage rate is also referred to as the mill rate or the effective property tax rate.
The current millage rate can be found on our website at www.savannahga.gov/millagerates.
The City of Savannah millage rate is approved by Savannah City Council.
Property owners may apply for exemptions through the Chatham County Assessor’s Office. Exemptions are a form of tax relief that can reduce the net taxable value of your property.
For more information on applying for exemptions. including the Homestead Exemption (for homeowners who occupy the property as their primary residence) and other special exemptions based on age, income, disability, or other criteria available to property owners, please contact the Chatham County Assessor’s Office at (912) 652-7271. Or visit their website at https://boa.chathamcountyga.gov.
Specific questions regarding your assessment should be directed to the Chatham County Assessor’s Office at 912-652-7271. They can provide you with the requirements and deadlines for appealing your value.
Yes. If a property’s value is under appeal, it will be billed at the prior year’s value or 85% of the current value, whichever is less. The tax amount billed is due at the time of the second installment billing due date, regardless of whether the appeal has been resolved. Once the appeal is resolved, a new bill is generated or a refund will be issued accordingly.
A property tax Fi.Fa. is a lien placed against a piece of property for failure to pay taxes when due. Literally, "fieri facias," means "cause it to be done." This is a judicial writ directing the sheriff to satisfy a judgment (such as unpaid delinquent taxes on real or personal property) from the debtor's property. Because a Fi.Fa. indicates a late payment or non-payment of a bill, it may affect the credit standing of the property owner(s). It may also result in the owner(s) loss of the property through tax sale. Therefore, prompt payment of property tax bills, like any other bill, should be taken seriously.
The City of Savannah holds approximately 6 tax sales each year. Properties scheduled for tax sale are advertised in the public notice section of the Savannah Morning Newspaper beginning four weeks prior to the sale. The listing is also posted on the City of Savannah website at www.savannahga.gov/taxsale.
Properties sold at tax sale may be redeemed by the original owner within a year and one day of the tax sale by contacting the winning bidder and paying the purchaser the amount of the winning bid plus 20%.