The Union Recorder

February 25, 2013

EDITORIAL: Residents should brush up on new ad valorem tax changes


The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — A new law takes effect in Georgia next week that may impact how some locals and residents statewide pay ad valorem taxes.

Legislation approved last session by the Georgia General Assembly means beginning March 1, some residents will no longer pay these taxes on their birthdays. Local residents should be aware of the changes to avoid confusion and determine whether or not their motor vehicle taxes will be affected.

House Bill 386 creates a new system for taxing registered motor vehicles. There are still a few logistics to the bill that remain in discussion, however, knowing about the key changes beforehand can alleviate confusion and save time. Essentially, starting next Friday, sales and the annual ad valorem (birthday) taxes no longer apply to automobile purchases. While there has been discussion on the impending changes, local residents should be aware that vehicles purchased before Jan. 1, 2012 will stay on the old system and owners should know that they will continue the birthday tax the same as in previous years.

The replacement system creates a one-time title ad valorem tax or TAVT, so vehicle owners pay the title tax when they register a new or used vehicle and apply for the title at the county tax commissioner’s office. The new system only applies when ownership shifts through title exchange after March 1, but all residents should be aware of the change. All others continue operation under the current system, paying the annual tax and fees.

Owners who bought a vehicle between Jan. 1, 2012 and up to March 1 can opt-in to the new system if the owner proves sales and property taxes already paid exceed the potential TAVT payment. If the amount is less, the individual can pay the difference and convert.

Georgians must opt-in before Dec. 31.

There are also specifics in the new law regarding vehicle title transfers to family members and for leased vehicles.

Residents should know they cannot register a vehicle, change the title or get a tag until the ad valorem taxes are paid, and knowing whether or not the law applies in individual cases will make the transaction process run more smoothly at the courthouse. Not knowing could result in sticker shock at the tax commissioner’s office when making a transfer.

Same some time and avoid the potential for added confusion. Brush up on the law by visiting the Georgia Department of Revenue website at www.etax.dor.ga.gov. Or, call the Baldwin County Tax Commission office for more details and specific questions.