Published Sunday, February 24, 2013
From Staff Reports
Coweta County Tax Commissioner Tommy Ferrell is telling Coweta citizens there is no need for motor vehicle owners to rush to the Tag Office because of the new title tax law going into effect March 1.
House Bill 386, passed during the 2012 session of the Georgia legislature, creates significant changes regarding the taxation of motor vehicles, but it only affects those vehicles purchased after March 1 or purchased between Jan. 1, 2012 and Feb. 28, 2013.
All other vehicles remain under the current system and subject to annual ad valorem taxes, he said.
Any motorized vehicle purchased on or after March 1 that requires a title transfer will be subject to the new law. That includes person-to-person sales of used vehicles.
The purchase of a vehicle on or after March 1 will not be subject to sales tax or the vehicle subject to annual ad valorem taxes, commonly referred to as the birthday tax.
Instead there will be a one-time 6.5 percent title tax fee due at the time the title is processed.
In addition, the law allows those taxpayers who purchased a vehicle between Jan. 1, 2012 and Feb. 28, 2013, to have the opportunity to “opt-in” to the new system as long as it is done by their birthday this year or no later than Dec. 31, 2013.
That’s why the tax commissioner says there is “no need to rush to the Tag Office in March.”
Qualifying taxpayers are asked to wait until their regular vehicle registration period to decide whether to “opt-in” to the new system.
Since the taxpayer would be given credit for any sales tax and ad valorem taxes previously paid on the vehicle, “opting in” should be a great deal for most taxpayers who qualify, Ferrell said.
After “opting-in” the vehicle would no longer be subject to annual ad valorem taxes, only the regular registration tag fee, which is normally $20. Emission testing would still apply to applicable year models.
A qualifying taxpayer may opt-in after their birthday and before Dec. 31 but would then be subject to the 2013 ad valorem taxes on the vehicle.
Ferrell says he is concerned that various news media have indicated qualifying taxpayers should grab their bill of sale and head straight to county tag offices March 1. If that were to occur, in addition to taxpayers who actually have to be there renewing their tags in March, most tag offices would be dealing with extremely longer and slower moving lines.
Ferrell said the tag office currently closes at 5 p.m. and since his staff does not get paid for overtime or get comp time, the office doors will close in order for employees to be out as soon after 5 as possible. This means a long line after 4:30 or so would have to be cut off at some point in order for that to occur.