Governor Kemp Signs Property Tax & Childcare Tax Bills into Law

Photo shows Rep Lauren Daniel (center) and Governor Brian Kemp (seated) at the tax credit bill signing on April 18, 2024 (Georgia House photo).
Rep Lauren Daniel of Locust Grove and baby Zane Daniel with Governor Kemp for the child care tax credit bill signing on April 18, 2024. (Georgia House photo)

The childcare tax credit bill, sponsored by State Rep. Lauren Daniel of Locust Grove, is now law. Governor Kemp signed the measure during an event in Augusta on April 18, 2024. The governor signed various other tax bills as well.

Governor Signs Tax Bills

State lawmakers joined Governor Kemp last week for several tax-related bill measures. They included Rep Daniel’s bill to increase the childcare tax credit. The governor also signed House Bill 1015 to lower the state income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.39%. This move will save residents and businesses an estimated $700 million dollars in state taxes. Finally, HB 581 contained revisions to property taxes.

House Bill 581

House Bill 581, sponsored by House Ways & Means Committee Chair Shaw Blackmon (R-Warner Robins) and Vice-Chair Clint Crowe (R-Jackson), makes several revisions to property taxes. The bill has the following:

  • introduces a new statewide floating homestead exemption,
  • revises the April tax notice and appeals process, and
  • creates a new local sales tax for property tax relief.
Statewide Floating Homestead Exemption

HB 581 establishes a statewide floating homestead exemption. Voters will decide in November whether to approve it. If voters approve the ballot question, then homeowners’ property tax increases would be capped at the rate of inflation starting next year. Counties, cities and local school boards have until March 2025 to opt-out of the statewide provision if they so choose.

Various Georgia counties have floating homesteads, also known as frozen homestead exemptions, already in place. This includes Henry County. There has been a frozen homestead on county government taxes since 2004. However, the local exemption does not apply to school taxes. The new statewide exemption would offer homeowners tax savings on county, city and school taxes.

April Tax Notice & Appeals Process

In addition, the bill revises the property tax assessment notice. The notices are mailed to property owners in April each year. Beginning in 2025, the notice will no longer include an estimate of the property owner’s tax bills. Instead, the notice will have an estimate of the rollback millage rate.

There are also revisions to the appeals process. The appeal process now requires an appellant’s active participation. Some property owners, particularly corporate or commercial owners, have been tabling their appeal hearings so they can delay paying their property taxes. The state also amended a provision providing frozen tax assessments when the owner submits an appeal. Moving forward, a three-year freeze will apply only if a property owner appeals and receives a lower value. Previously, any appealed property value received a three-year freeze.

New Local Sales Tax

Finally, HB 581 creates a new local sales tax. Counties may consider asking their voters for one additional penny for property tax relief. If voters approve the new sales tax, then the revenues may only be used to reduce the millage rate. This is similar to the existing local option sales tax (LOST). The sales tax rate cap rose from 8% to 9% to accommodate the new penny.

Childcare Tax Credit

House Bill 1021 increases the childcare tax credit from $3,000 to $4,000 per dependent. This amounts to about $50 in tax savings per child for parents. The increased tax credit will take effect for the 2024 tax year, or when residents file their tax returns in early 2025.

State Rep. Daniel announced the legislation in January. At the time, Daniel shared “We are hit with rising costs at the grocery store. We’re hit with rising costs of childcare. We’re hit with rising costs to afford our mortgages, so this is something that helps.” Daniel, a mother of four, was accompanied by her newborn son, Zane, each day at the state Capitol during session.

House Bill 1021 passed the Georgia House in February by a unanimous vote 165–0. It passed the state senate on March 28 likewise unanimously 50–0.

Featured image shows Rep Daniel, Governor Kemp and state lawmakers on April 18, 2024. Georgia House photo.

About Clayton 1498 Articles
Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. He founded the site in 2017 to highlight transportation projects. Over time, he began covering other topics like new development so residents can best know what’s happening in our community.