As we celebrate Older Americans month this May, it’s important that residents in Rockdale County know which waivers and exemptions are available to seniors and how they can take advantage of them. In Rockdale, there are two opportunities seniors can take advantage of – one for vehicle registration and the other for property taxes.
When it comes to motor vehicle registration, residents 65 years and older may be eligible for a senior waiver. With this waiver, an emissions test would not be required to renew a registration. To qualify for the senior waiver, the vehicle must be registered to the applicant, be at least 10 model years old and be driven less than 5,000 miles a year. To apply, simply bring in your current mileage and our office will assist you in filling out the application. Or you can visit Georgia’s Clean Air Force website at www.cleanairforce.com to apply. It is important to keep track of your mileage throughout the year because you will be required to report your mileage every time you renew your registration. Write down the actual mileage; do not guess. If the mileage from one year to the next is more than 5,000 miles, an emissions test will be required.
In terms of property taxes, all property owners who occupy their homes and are 65 years and older are eligible for a senior exemption. Owners with this type of exemption will not be taxed on the first $35,000 of the home’s value, as opposed to owners with a standard exemption who are not taxed on the first $15,000. If an owner has a standard exemption in place and later turns 65 years old, he or she must apply for the higher exemption. Once a senior exemption is approved, the owner does not need to apply again.
There are different exemptions that seniors may be eligible for, such as an exemption that takes effect at age 62 years old or a disabled veteran exemption, so contact our office and we can help you navigate the application process.
Contrary to popular belief, seniors in Rockdale do pay school taxes. However, depending on the value of the property, an exemption may be in place that wipes out that tax obligation for a senior. For others, the exemption may drastically reduce the amount of taxes due on the property.
If you have questions about waivers or exemptions, please contact the Tax Commissioner’s Office. We will be happy to provide you with answers.
Tisa Smart Washington is tax commissioner of Rockdale County.