“We call that a cleanup bill,” he said. “It is not any major change to the new system, and we’re still definitely moving to the new system on March 1.”
The law ends the so-called “birthday tax” Georgians paid annually on the value of their vehicles and the sales tax on new purchases. It substitutes a one-time title fee that applies to every vehicle registration — including private resales and transfers from other states. The tax starts at 6.5 percent of fair market value this year and rises to 6.75 percent in 2014. Future increases are possible, but they’re capped at 9 percent.
House Bill 80, which is now awaiting action in the state Senate, contains adjustments to the responsibilities of manufacturers, distributors and dealers, along with lowering the fee applied to rental cars. It also sets out penalties for failure to register the vehicle in a timely manner.
Payne served on a statewide task force formed last year to figure out how to implement the new law, which was passed by the Georgia General Assembly during the 2012 session.
He said Friday the current legislation also may provide some options for people who move into the state and face another assessment on vehicles they brought with them. He also said it’s premature to comment on specifics.
“I’ve already heard rumors of different things that may happen in the Senate and if they change it, it will have to go back to the House again,” Payne said. “But in all honesty, this is just a clean-up bill; more behind-the-scenes-type changes. The move from a birthday tax to a title tax will still happen.”
The House version also would set the fee at 0.5 percent of the fair market value of vehicles made between 1963 and 1987, and changes the definition of retail selling price to include the cost of labor, freight, delivery and dealer add-ons but not items such as extended warranties, insurance and finance charges.