The Union Recorder

Local News

February 20, 2013

New vehicle tax laws could mean long lines

ATLANTA — Motorists can expect longer lines and higher fees at county tag offices across Georgia as new vehicle tax laws take effect, officials said.

Georgia's new title tax law goes into effect March 1, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (http://bit.ly/WIFemG ).

On Monday, tax commissioners from Gwinnett, Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb counties held a news conference asking residents for patience as they switch to the new system, a one-time title tax that replaces sales tax and the annual "birthday" tax. They said motorists should use phone or mail-in options to avoid long wait times.

"I know it's going to be frustrating for tax payers," said Claudia Lawson, DeKalb's tax commissioner. "This is a change for all of us. We've got to get familiar with it, the staff has to get familiar with it and the taxpayers."

Some counties, such as Cobb, are hiring additional staff and setting up dedicated help lines to deal with the crush of customers.

The new law could affect car owners in three ways:

• Georgians who buy new or used cars after March 1 will now pay a one-time tax to title their car rather than the annual "birthday" tax.

• Residents who bought cars between Jan. 1, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2013, will have a choice whether to pay the one-time tax, or stick with the birthday tax.

• Drivers who bought a car before 2012 will continue to pay the birthday tax.

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