While the tax reform of 2012 positioned our traditional industries to be very competitive nationally and internationally, Georgia must focus now on building upon its strong entrepreneurial spirit, strong research universities and high tech leadership to promote growth in innovative businesses. These businesses depend on highly-skilled, highly paid individuals who can live anywhere they want – meaning our personal income tax rate of 6 percent is increasingly uncompetitive.
State and Local Tax Comparisons
Georgia State and Local Taxes
Sales and Use Tax
The current statewide rate is 4%. It was initiated in 1951 at 3% and increased to 4% in 1989.
Current local rates vary by county. Counties may impose up to three of the following 1% rates: One percent for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (currently only in Fulton and DeKalb), a 1% Local Option Sales Tax, a 1% Special Purpose Sales Tax, a 1% Homestead Local Option Sales Tax, and a 1% Education Local Option Sales Tax. (The City of Atlanta has adopted a 1% Municipal Option Sales Tax that brings their rate up to a total of 8%.)
Motor Vehicle Tags and Title
Motor vehicle tag taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of the vehicle by the millage rate in the county in which the vehicle is registered divided by 1,000.
The ad valorem tax is based upon the assessed value of the real personal property that is subject to the tax, as set by the county tax assessor. The tax rate, or millage, in each county is set annually by the Board of County Commissioners or other governing authority of the taxing jurisdiction. A tax rate of one mill represents a tax liability of $1 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The Individual Income Tax was initiated in 1929 and for two years was assessed at one third of the federal rate. A graduated system began in 1931 and was revised in 1937 to essentially the present graduated scale used by the Georgia joint filer today.
The Corporate Income Tax was initiated in 1929 and for two years was assessed at one third of the federal rate. The rate was changed to: 4% in 1931; 5 1/2% in 1937; 7 1/2% in 1949-50 (temporarily); 5 1/2% in 1951, 4% in 1955 with Federal taxes no longer deductible; 5% in 1964; and the present 6% went into effect in 1969.
Estate, Inheritance and Gift Taxes
Georgia does not have an inheritance tax or a gift tax, but it does have an estate tax. The Georgia estate tax is the amount allowable by the Internal Revenue Service as a credit for state death taxes. In effect, the estate taxes paid to Georgia may be used to reduce the estate taxes due the Internal Revenue Service." (Source: Georgia Department of Revenue, Tax Guide) Hence, Georgia's estate tax doesn't add to anyone's overall estate tax bill, it simply keeps more of the money at the state, rather than federal, level.