Readers of this Georgia Tax Blog may recall that some of the state's lawmakers tried to pass a sweeping overhaul of Georgia's tax code in 2011. When they failed to institute all of their proposed changes, they returned in 2012 and passed a few minor amendments to the state's tax laws.

For example, they were able to eliminate the so-called "birthday tax" that Georgia residents paid on the values of their vehicles each year and replace it with a one-time tax that people pay when they transfer title and register their vehicles. Overall, the changes were much less ambitious than the previous year's proposal, however. 

Many believe that state legislators will soon turn their attention to state tax laws again, since 2014 is an election year. Many conservative legislators and special-interest groups are pushing for lower taxes overall, coupled with less state government spending and fewer regulations. They believe that the state needs to change its tax laws in order to remain competitive with surrounding states in attracting businesses. Bills addressing personal income tax and state sales levels are currently before the Senate.

Those who oppose radical tax reform argue that those who are trying to amend the laws are rushing to change things without totally understanding the full implications of the changes. The state's income tax supplies the government with about 50 percent of its revenue, and they believe that residents would just end up paying more in other taxes to make up for any state revenue losses if the state were to cut income taxes.

While lawmakers debate changes to the tax code in the future, Georgia residents have to worry about paying their taxes today. Many people have had trouble doing so due to the underperforming economy. Some owe the IRS back taxes and penalties. Those with delinquent tax payments should seek the assistance of a seasoned tax debt attorney to help resolve the matter.


Source: Bloomberg Businessweek News, "Push for tax reform likely to resurface in Ga.,"  Christina A. Cassidy, July 15, 2013