Taxes and Incentives

Local Taxes and Incentives

Property Tax Calculation

Taxes on real estate and tangible personal property are levied by the County, the local school district, and the State as of January 1st of each year. The taxes are collected by the County and all rates are set at the local level, except for State tax. State tax is fixed by Georgia law at a rate of $0.10 for each $1,000 of a property’s fair market value.


Think Globally Thrive Locally - Columbia County, Georgia


Columbia County Property Tax Rate on $1,000,000 worth of real or personal property

Millage Rate Calculation

[$1,000,000] x [40% of Fair Market Value] = $400,000 of Assessed, taxable property.

[$400,000] x [0.027327] = $10,931 of Annual Property Tax

Effective Tax Rate Calculation

[$1,000,000] x [1.09308%] = $10,931 of Annual Property Tax


Property Tax Rates

Columbia County Unincorporated:

Total Millage Rate:      0.027937

Assessment Rate:       40%

Effective Rate             1.11748%

City of Harlem:

Total Millage Rate:      0.035046

Assessment Rate:       40%

Effective Rate             1.40184%

City of Grovetown:

Total Millage Rate:      0.032596

Assessment Rate:       40%

Effective Rate             1.30384%


Industrial Revenue Bond Financing

Tax-exempt bond financing and Taxable Bond Financing are available for companies seeking to finance the purchase of land, buildings, and equipment for eligible manufacturing projects. Rates for industrial revenue bonds are market-based and established on the credit and strength of the individual company and projects. Tax-exempt IRB financing can be used for projects with capital investment between $1 million and $20 million.


Property Tax Abatements

Companies that issue industrial revenue bonds through the Development Authority of Columbia County will qualify to participate in a leaseback agreement and receive reeducation in property tax through reduced lease factor rates. The industrial revenue bonds and the leaseback agreement can be executed in a manner to ensure the company can begin site development prior to the finalization of the industrial revenue bond process. The leaseback agreement will allow the company to receive property tax savings by having the real and personal property deeded to the Development Authority of Columbia County. The company will maintain responsibility for the facility and equipment. Under the leaseback agreement, the company will have the ability to have the deed transferred back to the company’s name at any time. 

Note:  When the deed is returned to the company and/or the industrial revenue bonds paid in full, all property tax abatements will end. The value of the reduction in property tax liability is contingent on the qualifying size and scope of the project.

To be considered for Industrial Revenue Bond financing, please complete the following IRB Application and return to the Development Authority of Columbia County.

IRB Application


Freeport Exemption

Columbia County voters have elected to exempt the following types of commercial and industrial inventory:

  • Raw materials and goods in process of manufacture – 100% exemption
  • Finished goods produced in Georgia within the last 12 months – 100% exemption
  • Finished goods stored in Georgia within the last 12 months and destined for shipment out-of-state – 100% exemption

The deadline for filing an application for freeport exemption with the Board of Tax Assessors is April 1 to receive the full exemption.

Freeport Application


Rezoning, Site Plan Review, & Building Permits

Columbia County strives to provide the best service possible to our corporate citizens and future companies. In doing so, Columbia County offers an efficient and timely rezoning process that usually takes between 45 and 60 days. The County’s approach to Site Plan and Building Permit reviews is streamlined to allow for concurrent filing and expedited review. The normal review time period is approximately four (4) to five (5) weeks. However, depending on the size and scope of the project, Columbia County staff can substantially shorten this time period.


Grants & Loans

The Development Authority of Columbia County is committed to working with prospects and expanding business to identify local, state, and federal grants to support infrastructure and development costs. Opportunities vary by industry and project scope.

The Harlem Revolving Loan Program is designed to provide affordable financing for companies located in the City of Harlem. For more information regarding this program follow the link below.

Harlem Revolving Loan Program


Small Business Financing

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers numerous loan programs to assist small businesses. It is important to note, however, that the SBA is primarily a guarantor of loans made by private and other lending institutions. Such SBA partners include Lenders, Community Development Organizations, and Microlending Institutions.

One such partner that effectively administers the SBA business loan programs in Columbia County is the Central Savannah River Area Business Lending Agency. To contact the CSRA Business Lending Agency, please visit 

Below is a table that provides a brief summary of SBA’s Business Lending Programs:

U.S. Small Business Administration Loans

    • Basic 7(a) Loan Guaranty: SBA’s primary loan program for small businesses financing when they might not be eligible for loans through normal lending channels.  Highly flexible for general business purposes.
    • Certified Development Community 504 Loan: Long-term, fixed-rate financing to small businesses acquiring real estate, machinery or equipment for expansion or modernization.
    • Microloan 7(m) Program: Provides short-term loans of up to $35,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit child-care centers for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and/or equipment. The SBA makes or guarantees a loan to an intermediary, who in turn makes the microloan to the applicant.  The applicant’s loans are not guaranteed by the SBA.


State Taxes and Incentives

Georgia’s Corporate Income Tax

Georgia’s Corporate Income Tax rate of 6% has remained unchanged since 1969. “Single Factor Gross Receipts” apportionment formula results in a substantial and permanent reduction of Georgia income taxes for companies that manufacture products within the state of Georgia and sell those products or services to customers in other states. This is designed to encourage manufacturing, distribution and service companies to invest or expand in Georgia.


Georgia Business Tax Incentives for Job Creation and Investment

Job Tax Credit Program: Qualified businesses in Columbia County may qualify for this credit if they create at least 25 new jobs in a calendar year. Job Tax Credits of $1,250 each year for five years for each new full-time job created and maintained.  For example: $1,250 x 25 new jobs x 5 years = $156,250 in tax credits. Portions of Columbia County do qualify for increased Job Tax Credits, based on their designation as Military Zones and Opportunity Zone. For more information on these programs and qualifying locations visit:

Military Zones – Columbia County

Opportunity Zone – Columbia County


Georgia Business Tax Incentives for Job Creation and InvestmentPort Job Tax Credit Bonus: Businesses qualify for a $1,250 per job bonus if they already qualify for the job tax credits and have a 10% increase in Georgia Port traffic over the previous year.


Quality Job Tax Credits: Businesses qualify for this credit if they create a minimum of 50 new jobs that pay at least 110% of the county average. Credits are per job, per year, for up to 5 years based on an increasing scale system.


Retraining Tax Credits: Direct investment for employee retraining for quality and productivity enhancements and certain software technologies may qualify for credits of 50% of the employer’s direct cost of up to $500 per employee.


Additional credits are available for equipment, capital investments, retraining employees, childcare, R&D, and small business fast growth companies. For a full overview of Georgia’s Business Incentives visit the Georgia Department of Economic Development website.