Saturday November 28th, 2015 4:30AM

Hall County tax commissioner braces for long lines with arrival of TAVT

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - Tax commissioners from the metro Atlanta area held a press conference Monday to warn taxpayers that lines will be long at their offices as new vehicle tax laws take effect on March 1.

But Hall County Tax Commissioner Darla Eden said on the Tuesday edition of WDUN's Morning Talk it isn't just the larger metro counties that may have a backlog.

"We're really trying to get the word out because we do think the lines are going to be really long at our office as well as our tax assessor's office," said Eden.

The TAVT, or Title Ad Valorem Tax, is part of House Bill 386, voted into law by the 2012 Georgia General Assembly. Eden said basically, lawmakers hope the law will spur economic growth by changing the manner in which some taxes are levied.

"Three initiatives are at the state income tax level, two are at the sales tax level and the one that impacts us [tax office] is at the local level, the Title Ad Valorem Tax," said Eden.

The TAVT takes the place of the so-called "birthday tax," the ad valorem tax that vehicle owners pay each year. Now, a 6.5% tax is paid at the time someone purchases a new or used vehicle, whether that purchase takes place at a dealership or privately.

Eden contends there are other elements to the law that may confuse vehicle owners.

For example, the TAVT is levied any time a vehicle changes hands, and it is calculated on the value of the vehicle, not on the price the vehicle-owner paid for the vehicle. She pointed out that the tax rate will increase in coming years.

Also, owners are obligated to pay the annual ad valorem tax on vehicles purchased before March 1, 2013.

Eden said she thinks the most confusion will come from people who buy vehicles through private sales.

"Normally with private sales you just come in, pay $38 and you're out the door," she said. "So now that we're asking for payment of 6.5% of that vehicle for them to walk out with their tag and title, I think that's going to be a shock."

Eden said newcomers to the state may be surprised, as well, when they find out about the TAVT.

For answers to other questions you may have on the TAVT, follow the links below to web sites for the Georgia Department of Revenue and the Hall County Tax Commissioner's Office.
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