Georgia State and Local Tax (SALT) Alerts
State and Local Tax Insights
Georgia State and Local Tax Alerts – January 2021
- The Georgia Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a class action suit filed by homeowners seeking a refund of property taxes for alleged illegal assessments on their properties. The complaint alleged that the county board of assessors singled out recently sold properties for reappraisal at the increased sales price while leaving the assessed values of comparable unsold properties undisturbed. The Court of Appeals held that while county boards aren’t required to use any particular appraisal method to determine fair market value of property, the procedure used was based on the intentional targeting of a subclass of property owners for increased assessments. (Dkt. No. A20A1898)
- The Georgia Dept. of Revenue and the Dept. of Driver Services will soon be completing a technology upgrade called DRIVES (Driver Record and Integrated Vehicle Enterprise System). This multi-year upgrade modernizes the current driver’s license system and the Tag & Title system. The DRIVES system was created to offer more self-service options, improve customer service and enhance data integrity. To prepare for the final upgrades, the Dept. of Revenue has posted a schedule of closings in January 2021. Review the schedule here: https://bit.ly/2WRUBPh
- Georgia lowers a key interest rate for 2021. The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has announced that the interest rate for interest-bearing refunds and past due taxes for 2021 will be 6.25%, accruing monthly. This is a decrease from the 7.75% rate for 2020. The interest rate for refunds and past due taxes is pegged at a rate equal to the bank prime loan rate as posted by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, plus 3%, to accrue monthly. For more information: https://bit.ly/35kHWJC
- The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has issued its Employer’s Withholding Tax Guide for 2021. The guide contains the 2021 wage bracket and percentage method withholding tax tables. The guide also includes electronic filing information, answers to frequently asked questions, a calendar of 2021 withholding tax deadlines and references to the applicable law provisions that govern withholding tax requirements. Download the guide here: https://bit.ly/2MO3qIj
- With January well under way, tax season will soon be upon us. The Georgia Dept. of Revenue is making it easier for taxpayers by providing digital copies of state tax forms on its website. Georgia residents can download both individual and business-related tax forms. Among forms available for download include: Income Tax Forms 500 and 500 EZ, Form 2106 Employee Business Expenses, and Form IT-303 to request an extension. Visit https://bit.ly/3iwyA2z to view all the downloadable forms.
- If your Georgia-based company uses a fleet of “heavy” trucks, it’s critical to understand the state’s Heavy Vehicle Highway User Impact Fee. Specifically, the fee is $50 for any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 15,500 lbs. to 26,000 lbs. For vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 lbs. or higher, the fee is $100. Bear in mind that the highway user impact fee doesn’t apply to vehicles used as part of interstate commerce. These vehicles are registered in the International Registration Plan. Also, the fee applies to all such vehicles regardless of whether they’re operated for commercial or noncommercial purposes. For additional information: https://bit.ly/2NkXwyH
- The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has announced that it will begin processing 2020 individual state income tax returns on Feb. 12, 2021, in conjunction with the IRS. The filing deadline to submit 2020 individual state income tax returns is April 15, 2021. Most error-free, electronically filed Georgia returns are processed within five business days of receiving the return and most refunds are issued within 21 days from the date a taxpayer files their return. All first-time Georgia income tax filers, or taxpayers who haven’t filed in Georgia for at least five years, will receive their refund in the form of a paper check.
- The Georgia Tax Center to close briefly in February for a system upgrade. The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has announced that the Georgia Tax Center will be unavailable beginning Feb. 5, 2021, until Feb. 10, 2021, due to tax system upgrades. Be aware that during the shutdown, all tax services will be unavailable, including all payment processing, filing of returns, refund status inquiries and tax credit pre-approvals. The department’s offices and the Taxpayer Services Call Center will be open for general questions, but staff won’t be able to provide current account information until the upgrade is completed. For more information: https://bit.ly/2YdFUXI