An investigation by a metro Atlanta media outlet suggests that Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and her husband have violated Georgia law as it pertains to homestead exemptions.
WSBtv published the findings of the investigation Friday, though the headline has largely been overshadowed by national headlines about a confrontation between Greene and fellow Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Investigative reporter Justin Gray said the Greenes have been claiming a homestead exemption in two counties. Greene owns a home in Fulton County, but moved to Floyd County, in Georgia’s 14th Congressional district, in 2020. When Greene’s husband filled out the paperwork in Floyd County, he reportedly left the line blank where it asked if the property owners were currently claiming a homestead exemption in another county.
A homestead exemption is, by definition, a protection of the value of a home from property taxes and creditors. One must be a permanent resident of Georgia to claim a homestead exemption in Georgia and, under Georgia law, a married couple is deemed to be a single applicant, meaning jointly, only one property qualifies to receive a homestead exemption. Most homestead exemptions use a monetary value to determine property tax protection, implementing a progressive-style tax to home value in order to assure that homes with lower assessed value benefit the most from the exemption.
The Fulton County Board of Assessors told WSBtv in a statement:
“The property owners filed for homestead exemption in Fulton County in May of 2019 and it became effective for the 2020 tax year. Per GA law, you can only have one homestead exemption. In this case, Fulton County will consult with Floyd County to confirm and determine in which county the exemption is not valid.”
WSBtv also reported that Gray contacted Greene’s office about the homestead exemptions and was told “to mind his own business” and called [the story] a “pathetic smear.” She later issued a second statement and called the matter ‘fake news.’
The findings resemble those surrounding the properties of Congresswoman Lucy McBath, also of Georgia, who made headlines in 2018 for claiming a homestead exemption in Cobb County while maintaining a primary residence in Tennessee. After an investigation, Cobb County revoked the McBath’s homestead exemption and ordered the couple to pay three years of back taxes, the furthest lookback permitted under law.