Georgia State and Local Tax (SALT) Alerts
State and Local Tax Insights
Georgia State and Local Tax Alerts – June 2020
- The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has issued a ruling on the sales taxability of products containing hemp extracts. The sales of topical hemp balms, hemp oils and 24K powder that are properly labeled with a “Supplement Facts” box are sales of tangible personal property. Georgia law doesn’t provide an exemption for the sale or use of dietary supplements, so sales of such products are subject to state and local sales and use tax. Download the Georgia Letter Ruling here: https://bit.ly/2Cw8iwA
- The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has ruled on the sales tax application for charges imposed by a provider of information management services to the healthcare industry. Charges for medical records delivered in any tangible format are subject to Georgia sales and use tax, but charges for the production of records delivered electronically are tax-exempt. Charges for coding, formatting and abstraction services are exempt from sales and use tax, but sales or use tax are imposed and must be paid on purchases of tangible personal property used in performing those services.
- Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has issued an executive order, Empowering a Healthy Georgia, that provides the state’s continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The executive order provides, among other things, that “in person” appearances before county boards of equalization (CBE) may occur via remote communications, such as video teleconference. Also, decisions of CBEs may be transmitted electronically if all parties consent at the time of the hearing. The provision doesn’t retract the requirement that CBEs comply with the Georgia Open Meetings Act. Unless noted otherwise in specific sections, the order went into effect June 16, 2020, and runs through June 30, 2020.
- Nearly three-quarters of Georgia residents back a state tobacco tax rate increase, according to a recent poll conducted by Landmark Communications on behalf of the American Heart Association. Currently, Georgia has among the lowest tobacco tax rate in the United States at $0.37 per package of cigarettes. The poll found residents would like to see the rate increased to $1.50 per pack. The average U.S. tobacco tax is $1.87 per pack. Georgia republican lawmakers oppose the idea of raising the tobacco tax because of their general opposition to tax hikes. However, Georgia, like many other states, currently faces a large revenue shortfall.
- The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has issued a table showing the temporary local sales and use tax rates for energy sold to manufacturers for the third quarter, beginning July 1, 2020. The tables are temporary because the rates are subject to change after the June 9, 2020 election. The tax rates are imposed for energy sold to manufacturers as levied by counties within the 159 special districts and the City of Atlanta. The tax is levied initially by ordinance following the phase-in schedule rates provided by Georgia state law. Download the table here: https://bit.ly/2YdliON
- The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has announced that it is resuming in-person customer service by appointment only. To make an appointment with the Taxpayer Services Division, the Alcohol and Tobacco Division, the Motor Vehicle Division or at one of the department’s 11 regional offices, Georgians should visit the department’s website at https://bit.ly/3h69PZT.
- The Georgia Dept. of Revenue has announced the average retail sales prices used to calculate the prepaid local tax on motor fuel sales. The following average retail sales prices will be in effect July 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020, unless subsequently revised by the department: gasoline, $1.410 per gallon; diesel, $2.044 per gallon; aviation gasoline, $3 per gallon; and liquefied petroleum gas, $1.954 per gallon. New county tax rate changes go in effective July 1, 2020.
- The Georgia Dept. of Revenue states that Ware County will end the imposition of the 1% Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), reducing its total tax rate from 9% to 8%. Muscogee County will hold an election to renew the Educational Local Option Sales Tax (ELOST) tax on June 9, 2020, due to the March election being postponed.