Georgia voters to decide on measure increasing personal property tax exemption from $7,500 to $20,000

The Georgia State Legislature passed a bill that would increase the personal property tax exemption from $7,500 to $20,000. The increase requires voter approval at the general election in Nov. 2024.

The measure was introduced into the state Legislature as House Bill 808 (HB 808). On Feb. 26, 2024, the Georgia House of Representatives voted 125-42 to pass the bill. All 42 no votes came from Democratic representatives. On March 26, the Senate passed the measure in a vote of 51-0.

Under the state constitution, property tax exemption bills require a two-thirds supermajority vote (rather than a simple majority vote) in the state legislature. A majority of voters must approve them.

The measure would increase the personal property tax exemption from $7,500 to $20,000. The exemption excludes from taxation all property owned by a taxpayer within a county (except motor vehicles, trailers, and mobile homes) with a fair market value of $20,000 or below. Personal property includes furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment, inventory, and other property used in a business, as well as aircraft and boats owned by an individual or corporation.

In 2002, Georgia voters approved Referendum E, with 72% in favor and 28% opposed. Referendum E increased the personal property tax exemption from $500 to $7,500.

From 2000 through 2022, 22 property tax exemption measures appeared on the statewide ballot; 19 were approved and three were defeated.

The following are exempt from property taxes in Georgia:

  • items of personal property used in the home if not held for sale, rental, or other commercial use;
  • all tools and implements of trade of manual laborers worth up to $2,500 in actual value;
  • domestic animals with an actual value of less than $300;
  • tangible personal property that does not exceed $7,500 in value excluding motor vehicles, trailers, and mobile homes;
  • computer software when it is installed on computer hardware as an operating system;
  • certain farm products and equipment.

So far, the Georgia State Legislature has referred one other measure to the 2024 ballot. The measure would amend the state constitution to provide for a state tax court.