ATLANTA — A Channel 2 Action News investigation has found that Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her husband have two active homestead exemptions, which is against Georgia law.
A homestead exemption is a big tax break any Georgia homeowner is entitled to for their primary residence. It is against the law to file for more than one.
But Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray pulled records showing that the Greenes are getting the tax break on two different homes in two different counties.
In a statement, Greene’s office told Gray to mind his own business and called it a “pathetic smear” when he asked them about the homestead exemptions.
Greene still owns a North Fulton county home, but also bought a $610,000 house in Floyd County last year in the 14th Congressional district, which she represents.
A member of Congress does not have to live in the district they represent. But what you legally cannot do is file multiple homestead exemptions.
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William Perry is the founder of the nonprofit Georgia Ethics Watchdogs.
“You get a tax break for your permanent residence. But you don’t get to do that in two places. That’s against the law,” Perry said.
Through open records requests, Channel 2 Action News pulled the Greenes’ homestead exemption applications in both Fulton and Floyd counties.
In the Floyd county application, Greene’s husband left blank the line that asked if they had another active exemption on any property.
But Fulton County tax officials confirm to Gray, that Greene never stopped getting the tax break on the Fulton property.
The Fulton County Board of Assessors said 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.”
Channel 2 Action News contacted Greene, who said in a statement:
“Georgians care about their livelihoods and their family’s safety. Yet WSB is focused on paperwork, which is being taken care of. I’m a proud resident of the 14th district. Justin Gray needs to mind his own business instead of launching yet another pathetic attempt to smear me and my family.”
But it’s more than a paperwork issue, it’s against Georgia law.
The penalty for filing a false homestead exemption according to Georgia code is twice your tax bill. For the Greenes, according to their 2020 bill, that could be nearly $12,000.
“This isn’t a paperwork issue, this is fraud. You can’t accidentally declare homestead exemption in two different counties,” Perry said.
UPDATE: More than 15 hours after our story aired, a spokesman for Marjorie Taylor Greene issued a second, new statement calling it “fake news” and blaming Fulton County for the error writing: “Fulton County did not respond to requests to cancel the exemption in January, possibly due to COVID. Everything has now been corrected”
Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray reached out to Fulton County to see if they received anything from Greene, however Fulton County previously told Channel 2 Action News they had received no communication or documents from Greene regarding the Homestead tax exemption.
Cox Media Group