On March 25th, 2022, the City of Woodstock Finance Department will mail refund checks to residential property taxpayers who received an applicable Homestead Freeze Exemption during property tax years 2018, 2019, and 2020. During a recent implementation of new property tax software, it was discovered that the amount for Homestead Freeze Exemption had been incorrectly applied to the tax digest during the property tax years 2018, 2019, and 2020. As a result, some Woodstock property taxpayers, who had an applicable Homestead Freeze Exemption during one of those years, may be due a refund. This does not impact the most recent property tax year 2021.
The Constitution of Georgia allows counties to enact local homestead exemptions. Cherokee County has implemented an exemption that will freeze the valuation of property at the base year valuation for as long as the homeowner resides on the property. Even as property values continue to rise the homeowner's taxes will be based upon the base year valuation. To receive an exemption, a homeowner must apply in person at the Canton location of the Cherokee County Tax Assessors Office.
Woodstock City Council authorized the City of Woodstock Finance Department to issue refund checks to impacted property owners. Those who are still on record as owning the property in property tax year 2021 will receive checks automatically. Woodstock property taxpayers who were homeowners during property tax years 2018, 2019, or 2020, but who later sold their property may also be due a refund. If a refund is due, taxpayers who have moved will need to go to the City of Woodstock’s Finance Department web page at www.woodstockga.gov/finance (which will be active on March 25th) and download a refund request form at the Homestead Freeze Exemption Tax Refund link. Once completed, the request (including all applicable support regarding ownership) should be emailed to TaxProject@woodstockga.gov or mailed to Woodstock Finance Department, Attn: Tax Refund Project, 12453 Highway 92, Woodstock, GA 30188.
“When it was discovered $837,209.04 had been incorrectly applied to the tax digest, the City of Woodstock’s Finance Department took immediate action,” stated City of Woodstock CFO Ron Shelby. “With transparency, we will ensure this matter is resolved expediently.” Shelby stated 9,632 property taxpayers will receive a check automatically and 1,436 property taxpayers who have moved will need to contact the City of Woodstock Finance Department to request a refund. The average refund check amount is $86.92; check amounts range from $0.02 to $1,100.05. Eighty-nine checks are under $0.58 (the cost of a postage stamp). According to Shelby, the cost to mail those payments is $51.62 but it is important to process each payment and ensure financial transparency through this process.
Inquiries regarding this matter may be directed to TaxProject@woodstockga.gov. Taxpayers may also reach the City of Woodstock Finance Department by phone at 770-592-6051.