Posted: Saturday, March 2nd 2013 at 10:50am
'Smooth sailing' for area tax offices on March 1
UNFATED - For months now, county tax commissioners all over the state have braced for March 1, the day that the new TAVT, or Title Ad Valorem Tax, would become law in Georgia; for the most part, operations ran smoothly.
Habersham County Tax Commissioner June Black said she arrived at her office bright and early at 7:10 a.m. Friday. As of mid-morning, she reported no problems at all, saying that putting the new law into action was "smooth sailing" for her staff.
In Hall County, Tax Commissioner Darla Eden reported that business was steady throughout the day, but no taxpayer waited more than 20 minutes to be served.
She said it wasn't just the changes in the motor vehicle tax that made for a busy day, however.
"We had three events today that made for a very busy lobby," said Eden. "Property taxes were due today before the 10% late pay and fifas that will be applied next week, new motor vehicle transactions...[and]regular first of month busy coupled with falling on a Friday."
Eden said the office was fully staffed and all 12 windows stayed staffed throughout the day. She noted that her staff members had spent the last few weeks being educated on the new TAVT, which takes the place of the so-called "birthday tax" in Georgia.
She said customers appeared to be prepared for the changes, and she said a number of customers chose the "opt in" component of the law for vehicles purchased prior to March 1.
"The opt ins were the big thing today," she said. "Several free opt ins happened today."
She said taxpayer Gordon Crenshaw chose to opt in and avoid paying the annual birthday tax on a high-end vehicle he purchased in December. Eden said he saved $750 by using the TAVT system.
Eden also said her office served a couple of taxpayers who had recently moved into Georgia, and the TAVT was foreign to them.
"They were a little surprised at first, but once we explained to them that it was a one time fee and that it eliminated the annual birthday ad valorem, they were okay."
Now that the dust has settled on March 1, Eden said she doesn't expect her office will slow down. If anything, she said she expects traffic...and the questions...to pick up.
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