Hicks Outlines Changes to TAVT System

Stephens County Tax Commissioner Dene Hicks says that a new bill signed by Governor Nathan Deal is already adjusting the newly implement Title Ad Valorem Tax system.

Last Friday, the new Title Ad Valorem Tax took effect. Under that law, purchases of vehicles starting last Friday and moving forward will now be exempt from both state and local sales tax in Georgia and the ad valorem tax, known as the “birthday tax.”

In its place, those purchasing a vehicle from now on will pay a one-time Title Ad Valorem Tax, or TAVT, on self-propelled motor vehicles like cars, trucks, and motorcycles. That TAVT is 6.5 percent of the vehicle as determined by the state’s Department of Revenue.

According to Hicks, one of the big changes made this week that will affect local residents surrounds the ability to opt-in to the new Title Ad Valorem Tax system.

Previously, only those who purchased a vehicle between January 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013 in the state of Georgia could choose to opt in to the TAVT system.

Now, Hicks said any vehicle purchased between those dates, even if purchased in another state, can be placed into the TAVT system.

“It will allow out-of-state purchases to opt in to this new program,” said Hicks. “There will not be any tax credits for any tax paid to that other state, but the amount they paid to the state of Georgia will be a credit that will go towards their TAVT payment.”

Hicks said that this is something that had already come up in her office in the first week of the TAVT system.

She says those people affected by this change should contact her office sometime next week.

“There are already some folks that have come in to opt in and we have said, ‘We’re sorry, you have purchased this from outside the state of Georgia, you’re not eligible to opt in’,” said Hicks. “Six days in, we are changing the rules and now you can.”

Also under the changes made to the TAVT law this week, Hicks said people with the ability to opt-in now will have until February 28, 2014 to make that decision, rather than December 31, 2013. Hicks still urges people to opt in prior to their birthday if they are going to do so, however.

Overall, Hicks said the transition to the changes has gone well, but has resulted in some longer waits at the Tax Commissioner’s Office.

“It is a big change and there is a lot of information to soak up over the counter at one time,” said Hicks. “Our lines have been lengthy.”

She thanked people for having patience and being easy to work with.

Hicks also urged those who renew their tags online to read everything carefully and if given the option to opt in to the TAVT system, to cancel the online renewal and come into the office to discuss that possibility.

Anyone with questions should go to the Tax Commissioner’s Office website at www.stephenscountytax.com or call the Tax Commissioner’s Office at 706-886-4753.