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Georgia State and Local Tax (SALT) Alerts

State and Local Tax Insights

Georgia State and Local Tax Alerts – February 2020

  • The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has issued an information bulletin regarding the consequences of transferring a portion of Forest Land Protection Act (FLPA) property to a new qualified owner, where either the remaining or the transferred tract size is less than 200 acres. Georgia state law provides that if ownership of all or a part of a FLPA property is acquired during a covenant period by another qualified owner, no breach of the covenant is deemed to have occurred if the total size of a tract is reduced below 200 acres. However, neither property will qualify for a renewal covenant at the end of the covenant period unless additional acreage is added to meet the 200-acre limitation.
  • The Georgia Court of Appeals has held that the proper forum for a taxpayer to appeal a tobacco tax assessment by the Commissioner of the GA Dept. of Revenue is the district court and not the GA Tax Tribunal. GA state laws specifies that any individual aggrieved because of a final decision of the commissioner may appeal the decision to the superior court of the county in which the individual resides. Even though GA state law allows the Tax Tribunal to exercise jurisdiction over the commissioner’s final decision concerning a tobacco tax, those are general statutes. (Dkt. No. A19A2004)
  • Georgia has enacted a marketplace facilitator law. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has signed legislation that provides that a marketplace facilitator will be considered a dealer that must collect the state’s sales and use tax if it makes at least $100,000 in Georgia taxable sales. The new law is applicable to all sales made on or after April 1, 2020. Marketplace facilitators are required to collect sales and use tax on behalf of their marketplace sellers if the total value of their Georgia sales, combined across all its marketplace sellers and the marketplace facilitator itself, equals or exceeds $100,000 for the previous or current calendar year.
  • Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and Dept. of Revenue Commissioner David Curry are offering residents tips about how to protect themselves from tax-related scams. Tax identity theft occurs when a fraudster uses a person’s Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return in his or her name and collect the refund. It can also occur when a fraudster uses one’s SSN to get a job. Typically, consumers don’t realize they’ve been victims of tax identity theft until they get a written notice from the IRS stating that more than one tax return was filed using their SSN or that they received wages that they didn’t report.
  • Georgia amends the withholding tax payment and reporting regulation. As amended, the Payment and Reporting of Withholding Tax reg provides that if a withholding tax statement isn’t furnished or filed with the Georgia Dept. of Revenue by the required date, the person required to furnish or file the statement must be assessed a late penalty of 1) $10 per statement up to 30 calendar days after the date the statement is due, 2) $20 per statement furnished or filed at least 31 calendar days, but not more than 210 calendar days after the date the statement is due, and 3) $50 per statement furnished or filed 211 calendar days or more after the statement is due.
  • The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has reported that the state’s January 2020 net tax collections totaled nearly $2.36 billion, an increase of $100.8 million, or 4.5%, compared to January 2019, when net tax collections totaled $2.25 billion. Year-to-date (YTD) net tax collections for 2020 totaled roughly $14.21 billion, an increase of $133 million over 2019 YTD net tax collections. More specifically, individual income tax collections increased by a total of $56 million, or 4.3%, compared to last year. For additional data: https://bit.ly/2P6Qf3p
  • The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has adopted, effective Feb. 18, 2020, amendments to the title and ad valorem tax (TAVT) fee. The regulation updates the definition for “fair market value” and imposes a reduced TAVT of 1% on any motor vehicle’s fair market value that’s donated to a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. In addition, it exempts from the TAVT a transfer of a title from one legal entity to another entity, where the same individual holds a 50% ownership in both entities provided that the TAVT has been previously levied on the vehicle and has been paid by the transferring entity or by the individual.
  • The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has released county tax rate changes effective April 1, 2020. The counties of Mcintosh, Meriwether and Murray will impose an additional 1% tax, increasing the total tax rate in each county from 7% to 8%.

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