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Georgia House Passes Omnibus Tax Bill


UPDATE: 3/22/2012. The Georgia Senate has passed HB 386 and it now travels to the Governor's desk.

An “…omnibus motion is a motion bringing several issues together into one. The state legislature also uses this legal proceeding for fund appropriation each year. Passing such legislation without bringing all related issues into one motion would be far too time-consuming.”

Georgia House Bill 386 (HB 386) is an omnibus motion before the Georgia State legislature this month. Yesterday, the House passed the bill by 155 (Yea) to 9 (Nay).  The bill involves income tax and sales and use tax modifications to Georgia State law. Besides reducing the number of sales tax exemptions allowed by law, the bill increases the number of services that are now taxable.

Some services added to the (now taxable) sales tax list:

  • Garbage and trash pickup
  • Septic cleaning
  • Watch or jewelry repair
  • Shoe repair
  • Laundry and dry cleaning
  • Water softening
  • Housekeeping services
  • Gardening or lawn services
  • Weight loss centers
  • Global positioning services
  • Online dating services
  • Automotive repair services
  • Haircuts
  • Veterinarian expenses
  • Safe deposit box rental
  • Digital products such as ring tones, audio books, music

A whole section discusses the “[s]ales and use tax…applied to the sale or use of either a digital product or a digital code used to obtain a digital product." In addition, “[f]ilmmakers would lose the sales tax exemption they currently enjoy but would be allowed to keep a lucrative 30-percent income tax credit.”

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, “…the bill would require consumers to pay sales taxes on their online purchases from out-of-state vendors with ‘affiliate’ businesses in Georgia.” However, we have only been able to find the following language, modifying Code Section 48-8-2 to read,

“[s]ales of tangible personal property to persons for resale when there is a likelihood that the state will lose tax funds due to the difficulty of policing the business operations,” because of “…any other reasonable reason,” beyond the ones listed (on page 78), will grant the commissioner certain powers to “…promulgate rules and regulations requiring vendors of persons described in this subparagraph to collect the tax imposed by this article on the retail price of the tangible personal property.”

Section 48-8-2 is the section that would have been modified by HB 993, which I hailed earlier this year as the shortest bill I have seen so far. Some of the "other reasonable" reasons given on page 78 include "...difficulty policing the business operations because of":

  • the nature of the business;
  • the operation of the business;
  • the turnover of so-called independent contractors;
  • lack of place of business in which to display a certificate of registration;
  • lack of place of business to keep records;
  • lack of adequate records; and
  • the persons involved are engaged in essentially service businesses.

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Avalara Author
Susan McLain
Avalara Author Susan McLain
Susan McLain began her career as a technical writer in technology industries such as satellite networking and medical devices. Her skills encompass technical and marketing writing, usability engineering, verification and validation testing and protocol writing, requirements development, business analysis, technical illustration/graphic design and marketing. She has owned her own business providing service to small to medium sized business and in other positions, she has been in project management, documentation and marketing. She is currently the content specialist for Avalara helping to “make sales tax less taxing.”