A new law affects thousands of Georgians who've recently bought cars, or those who will buy a new car in the future. The changes are aimed at gradually phasing out the so-called "birthday tax," which has received heavy criticism over the years.
Beginning March 1, when you buy a new or used car, you'll no longer pay sales tax and then the annual birthday tax. Instead, you'll pay a one-time title transfer tax equal to about 6.5 percent of the car's value. Drivers who got their cars before 2012 will still pay the birthday tax.
If you buy your vehicle from an individual, you will have to pay the title tax.
Also, if you bought a car after January 2012, you have a choice of paying the one-time tax or continuing with the birthday tax, but you don't have to make that decision immediately.
DeKalb Vehicle Registrations Director Brent Bennett said that you don't have to opt-in to the new system until the normal renewal period before your birthday.
The tag office in DeKalb County saw a large but manageable crowd on the first day of the new law. Bennett said that people were coming in prepared.
Lawmakers at the Georgia Capitol have been working to fix some unintended consequences from the new law, including a double tax on new car leases.
To calculate the cost of how much you could pay in car taxes, and a comparison of fees under the new and old system, go to newtitletax.com.
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