The process for taxing real property begins with the purchase of property. Once a sale is finalized, a deed is recorded at the Clerk of Superior Court's Office in Evans, Georgia. The Tax Assessor's office then assigns a value to the property and an assessment notice is mailed to each individual property owner in May or June of the following year. The property owner then has a 45 day period to appeal the assigned value.
Once the appeal process period has ended, a tax digest is compiled. The tax digest is an official listing of all property owners in the county, the assessed value of the property they own, and the taxes levied on the property. This is the central document of the tax office. It is a complete listing of property owners, their street addresses, legal addresses, property locations, exemptions, assessments and taxes due. Once completed, the digest is submitted to the State Department of Revenue for approval by the Director of the Property Tax Division. After approval is received by the Columbia County Tax Commissioner, bills are prepared and mailed out during the first week in September. The taxpayer then has a period equal to at least 60 days to pay this annual tax bill. If bills are not paid by due date, 1% interest incurs each month on the amount due. After 90 days, a 10% penalty is added along with the filing of a tax lien (Fi Fa) against the property. If the tax bills remain unpaid after becoming 90 days delinquent, the Delinquent Tax Office may begin tax sale proceedings.