U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, and her husband filed for a Georgia homestead property tax break at two homes — one in Fulton County and one in Floyd County — when state law allows only one.
James Whitman, the deputy chief appraiser for the homestead division of the Fulton County Assessor's Office, confirmed to the Times Free Press on Monday that Rep. Greene and her husband, Perry Greene, filed for the tax exemption there in 2020 and again in 2021.
Danny Womack, chief appraiser with the Floyd County Board of Assessors, confirmed Perry Greene applied for and was granted a homestead exemption in Floyd County for the 2021 tax year.
The double-dipping was exposed last week by WSB Channel 2 Action News in Atlanta. In Fulton County, Whitman said, someone from the family called Friday to cancel the filing for 2021, less than 24 hours after the news of the filing was first reported. The family will therefore pay full taxes in Fulton County this year, instead of receiving the discounted rate allowed for people at their primary residence.
In a statement to the Times Free Press, Rep. Greene said Georgians care about their livelihoods and their family's safety, "yet WSB is focused on paperwork, which has been taken care of."
"I'm a proud resident of the 14th District," Greene said, adding that the Atlanta TV station reporter who broke the story "needs to mind his own business instead of launching yet another pathetic attempt to smear me and my family."
A basic homestead exemption takes $30,000 off the assessed value of a home, which is used to calculate property taxes. Whitman said the fair market value of Greene's home in Milton was $568,400 in 2020. Georgia's taxation rate for the assessed value of a home is 40% of the fair market value, or $227,360 for Greene's home. The $30,000 tax exemption comes off the assessed valuation.
The county millage rate in Fulton County in 2020 was 9.776. That would mean Greene saved about $300 in property taxes with the exemption, which won't be renewed this year.
In Floyd County, the house the Greenes own in Rome had a fair market value of $600,095 in 2020. The 2021 amount has not been finalized. The exemption in Floyd County is $5,000 from the assessed value with a millage rate of 9.88, meaning the homestead exemption will save the family about $50.
Womack said there is a homestead freeze in Floyd County that protects homeowners from increased taxes due to inflation in the years after the application year. Fulton County applies a freeze only to residents 65 and older for its basic homestead exemptions.
"Each county is different when it comes to homestead," Womack said in an email. "Floyd County offers what we refer to as a homestead freeze. However, Floyd County only recognizes the freeze exemption on the county's [maintenance and operations] millage rate. It doesn't apply to all taxing authorities."
Whitman said Greene did not apply for a homestead tax exemption for the tax year 2019, the same year she moved to Rome to run for office.
Whitman said Rep. Greene and Perry Greene told his office they had tried back in January to cancel the 2021 filing for the exemption, leaving a voicemail. Whitman said after four months it would be hard to say for certain whether the Greenes actually did leave a message to try and cancel.
Contact Patrick Filbin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.