“Under House Bill 480,” an AJC editorial says, “a one-time 7 percent fee would be assessed on all vehicle sales. For the first time, that would include vehicles bought from a neighbor or family member or through classified ads or Craigslist, which are currently excluded from sales taxes. In addition, the bill caps the maximum fee at $1,500.”
The editorial continues: “That means the buyer of a used, $21,500 minivan would pay a $1,500 fee, and the buyer of a $150,000 Mercedes would pay the same $1,500 fee. In effect, most of the value of that Mercedes would be immune to taxation, while all the value of the minivan would be taxed. That’s unfair to the point of being outrageous. It wouldn’t be hard to fix that problem. The most straightforward approach would be to simply remove the cap and make all the value of vehicles taxable.”
But Harry Geisinger (R-Sandy Springs), who authored the bill, argues that here in Georgia, “state and local officials have felt entitled to annually collect taxes on cars, trucks and SUVs, by something that is known as “the birthday tax” — a levy due on the birthday of the owner of each vehicle. If the Legislature is successful in eliminating this onerous tax, we will set historic precedent in this state and nationwide when it comes to personal property. We will prove that citizens can own some property without government feeling at liberty to put a perpetual lien on it.”
He continues: “House Bill 480, which eliminates the “birthday tax,” would instead substitute the annual ad valorem tax and sales tax at point of sale for a one-time fee on all vehicles — whether the purchase of a new vehicle or a fee when owners transfer a title in a personal sale. That’s it. End of story. No more levies. No more taxes. No more hidden fees. The owner of the vehicle would own the car, truck or SUV, free and clear of any government levies. Since the average Georgian owns a vehicle seven years, a motorist would no longer have to pay taxes related to that car. Ninety-three percent of Georgians own vehicles, according to the U.S. Census. I can’t imagine in this economic downturn that every one of those motorists wouldn’t rejoice at the news of no more birthday tax.”
What do you think of HB 480 and changing the “birthday tax”?