Overview

Our office bills, collects, and distributes ad valorem property taxes for:

  • Real property
  • Personal property (boats, planes, equipment, and inventory)
  • Heavy duty equipment
  • Mobile homes
  • Public utilities
  • Timber

We calculate the amount due for property tax statements based on the assessed property value, as determined by the Tax Assessors, and the millage rate, as set by the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education. In addition, our office is responsible for preparing the tax digest for submission to the state each year.

All revenue collected is distributed to the State of Georgia, Whitfield County, Boards of Education for Whitfield County and Dalton Public Schools, and the Cities of Dalton, Varnell, Tunnel Hill, and Cohutta.

Calculating Tax & Millage Rates

Property tax is the primary source of revenue for local governments. Property tax is an ad valorem tax. Ad valorem means "according to value."

The Board of Commissioners is responsible for setting the county budget using the property tax assessments as determined by the Tax Assessors (https://whitfieldassessor.com/). After setting the budget, they determine the millage rate which must be sufficient to cover the portion of the county budget that is funded by property tax.

Real and personal property tax statements are mailed by October 20 and are due on December 20 of each year. If these dates fall on the weekend, they shift to the next business day. Real property consists of land as well as anything erected, growing or affixed to the land. Personal property includes furniture and fixtures, machinery & equipment and inventory in a business. For individuals, personal property includes boats and motors as well as aircrafts. The Tax Commissioner is responsible for billing the property owner of record as of January 1.

Ad valorem tax is calculated using the following formula:

  • Fair Market Value x 40% - Exemptions = Taxable Value
  • Taxable Value x Millage Rate = Tax Due
Here is an example calculation for a home with a fair market value of $100,000:

  1. The fair market value is determined by the Tax Assessors (https://whitfieldassessor.com/).
  2. Whitfield County taxes at an assessment rate of 40% of its full fair market value.
    $100,000 x 40% = $40,000 (taxable value before exemptions)
  3. Exemptions, such as a homestead exemption, reduce the taxable value of your property.
  4. The taxable value is then multiplied by the millage rate which is set by the Board of Commissioners.
    1 mill = $1 tax per $1,000 taxable value.
The total millage rate is 39.145 which means property owners pay $39.145 per $1,000 of taxable value.

  • $40,000 x (29.506/1,000) = $1,180.24 tax due
    OR
  • $40,000 x .029506 = $1,180.24 tax due

Millage Rates are announced yearly in August when the local taxing authorities (Board of Commissioners and Board of Education) approve them. Please click HERE to see the approved millage rates since 2001.

Excess Funds

The overage amount from the tax sale of a property, known as “excess funds”, in which the final bid is greater than the amount due for taxes, accrued costs and all expenses of the tax sale. The excess funds is held in escrow by the Tax Commissioner’s Office. Anyone who has a legal interest in the property prior to the time of the tax sale (such as a mortgage company or anyone who holds a duly recorded lien against the owner of the property) may file a claim for the excess funds, in addition to the property owner, with the Tax Commissioner’s office.

Excess funds are available for distribution to the entitled parties in the order of priority in which their interest exists. Excess funds are subject to priority claim by the mortgagee or security interest holder. The record owner of the property at the time of tax sale may claim the overage only if the property is not encumbered by a mortgage and/or lien, or if there are funds remaining after the mortgagee and/or lien holder has satisfied their secure claim(s).

If competing claims for the excess funds are presented, or uncertainties or doubts of entitlement arise, an interpleader action may be filed in Superior Court for determination as to proper distribution. Claims by lien holders must include a current payoff statement. Rights to excess funds are controlled and established by state law which determines the priority of liens and which ones get paid first.

The time it takes to review the claim varies and is dependent upon the number of claims received, as well as the documentation included with the claim form. Failure of a claimant to file for excess funds does not eliminate their rights to said funds.

All claimants should request an Excess Funds Claim Form by email to wctco@whitfieldcountyga.com or by mail to: Whitfield County Tax Commissioner’s Office, Attn: Excess Funds, 1013 Riverburch Parkway Dalton, GA 30721.

Mobile Homes

Mobile home statements are mailed by January 15 of each year and are due by April 1. All mobile homes are required to have a current year decal visibly posted. These decals are issued upon receipt of tax payment.

If paid in person, the decal will be issued immediately. If another method of payment is chosen, the decal will be mailed when payment is received.

If mobile home tax is paid after the due date, a state mandated penalty of 10% of the tax due & monthly interest is assessed on the unpaid balance. Failure to obtain and properly display a current year mobile home decal will result in a lien being placed on the mobile home and may be subject to sale.

Mobile home owners who disagree with the Board of Tax Assessors’ value of their mobile home must file an appeal with the Tax Assessors’ Office or online (https://whitfieldassessor.com/) within 45 days of the mailing of their tax bill or April 1st, whichever occurs later.

Purchased/Sold a Mobile Home
When purchasing or transferring the ownership of a mobile home, the new owner must apply for a title within 30 days of purchase. A current tax paid receipt must be provided before the title application will be processed.

Steps to follow after purchase:

  • Have the previous owner sign the back of the title and give the title to you.
  • Find the mobile home on the View/Pay Your Taxes page to see if the taxes are paid. If tax is due, pay it.
  • Visit the Whitfield County Tax Commissioner’s office with the title and tax receipt and have the title changed into your name within 30 days of purchase.

It is ultimately the seller’s responsibility to ensure that the title has been changed into the new owner’s name and that the registration form has been completed. Failure to do so will result in billing to the last known owner of title. It is unlawful for any person to move or transport any mobile home which does not have attached & displayed the current year decal.

Real and Personal Property

Ownership Information
All property owner information is updated by the Tax Assessors’ Office. The Tax Assessors use deed information recorded in the Superior Court Clerk’s Office to update tax records for all real property. Tax statements are mailed to the owner as of January 1. For questions regarding the ownership record or how to update owner information (i.e. mailing address, contact information, etc.), please contact the Tax Assessors’ Office at 478.621.6701 or online (https://whitfieldassessor.com/).

Mortgage / Escrow
Our office mails tax statements to property owners, not to mortgage companies. We do send mortgage companies a data file that contains the property information and the tax amount due. It is the mortgage company’s responsibility to use the data file to pay the accounts of their customers that are in escrow. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner to ensure taxes are paid. For questions regarding the role of individual mortgage companies in paying the tax, contact the company directly, especially if the mortgage company has recently changed.

Ownership Changes - Real Property
If property was sold during the year, the tax digest will reflect the owner of record’s name as of January 1 of the tax year per Georgia Tax Code. If the property ownership changed after January 1, if our office is notified within 90 days of the due date of who the current owner is and a closing statement is provided, we will bill the current owner upon verifying the transfer. The Tax Commissioner is not responsible for determining a property owner’s payment obligation. The property owner is responsible for paying the taxes when due.

Ownership Changes - Personal Property (Business Inventory/Equipment, Boats, Aircraft)
Georgia Tax Law (O.C.G.A 48-5) specifies that the owner of the personal property (i.e., airplanes, business equipment/inventory, boats, watercraft) on January 1 of the tax year is responsible for the full year’s property tax regardless of subsequent sale, amount of usage or change of location. If the personal property was sold or relocated out of county prior to January 1, notification must be sent to the Tax Assessors’ office for removal from digest. The Tax Assessors’ Office will require proof of sale or relocation (i.e., bill of sale, paid tax receipt from current county, notarized affidavit attesting to location, etc.) before removing the account in Macon-Bibb County.

Tax Sale & Delinquent Tax

Disclaimer: At no time can any employee of the Whitfield County Tax Commissioner provide legal advice. If questions about processes or legal rights arise regarding property involved in a tax lien, levy, or tax sale, we recommend you seek professional advice.

If interested in purchasing a property at a tax sale, we will provide a packet of information to you, however we strongly encourage you seek professional advice before participating in the sale.

Delinquent Tax - Prior to Tax Sale All tax remaining unpaid after the due date is delinquent and subject to interest and penalties as mandated by state law.

If payment is late, the following interest and penalty will be added to the balance owed:

  • A monthly interest of the January prime banking rate plus 3% will be added on the unpaid principle balance due. The 2020 monthly interest rate is .6458%.
  • A five percent (5%) penalty will be added to the unpaid principle 120 days from the due date. An additional 5% penalty (on the unpaid principle) will accrue again every 120 days until a maximum 20% penalty has been charged.

If remaining balance is not paid in full, a FiFa (tax lien) may be issued against the property and the owner of record as of January 1. For real property, if the owner on January 1 can provide proof of the transfer of ownership and transfer of tax liability within 90 days of the date of delinquency, the tax bill will be reissued and a FiFa will be filed in the name of the current owner. Once a FiFa has been issued, the property is subject to levy and sale at a tax auction. When a property has been selected to go to tax sale, additional costs in the form of fees are added to the delinquent account for title research, advertising and other necessary actions.

Real property will be subject to tax sale after the property tax is 3 years delinquent.

Tax Sale Whitfield County holds 1 tax sale a year on the first Tuesday in October at 10am. A tax sale list can be found in the Dalton Daily Citizen newspaper in the Legal Advertisements section, every Friday for four weeks prior to the sale. A tax sale list can also be requested via email or in office four weeks prior to the sale.

The Whitfield County Tax Commissioner follows legal procedures prescribed by the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) when levying property. We strongly suggest reading those sections of Georgia law which pertain to tax executions and tax sales. OCGA 48-3 and 48-4, contain important information regarding tax executions and tax sales.

Bidders or a representative must be present to bid. Mail, phone or faxed bids are not acceptable.

The opening bid for a property is the amount of tax due, plus penalties and all other applicable fees. Payment is due in full immediately after the conclusion of the tax sale. Cash, certified funds, money orders, or personal checks are accepted. If payment is made via check, our clerk will verify funds prior to processing the payment.

After the Sale Though the tax sale purchaser receives a Sheriff’s tax deed for the property, possession of, improvements to, and/or eviction of any tenants on the property, are not allowed immediately according to Georgia law.

Georgia law allows the property owner or anyone with any right, title or interest in the property to repurchase (redeem) the Tax Deed from the tax sale purchaser. On non-judicial tax sales, the right of redemption cannot be foreclosed upon by the tax sale purchaser within a year after the tax sale date. Until the right of redemption has been foreclosed by the tax sale purchaser, a sheriff’s tax deed has about the same equivalence as a lien against the property.

When real property is sold at a tax sale, the owner, creditor or any person having an interest in the property may redeem the property from the holder of the tax deed within 12 months from the original tax sale date. The redemption price may include the purchaser’s bid amount, taxes paid by the purchaser after the tax sale, any special assessments on the property, plus a 20% premium. The tax sale purchaser is responsible for determining the amount payable for redemption. Redemption of the property puts the title conveyed by the tax sale back to the owner of record and is subject to all liens that existed at the time of the tax sale.

Whitfield County does not assist in the redemption or foreclosure process.