Ge­or­gia’s new deal

State tax re­form bill could af­fect many lo­cal res­i­dents

The Covington News - - News - GABRIEL KHOULI Staff Re­porter

Many New­ton County res­i­dents will be af­fected by changes com­ing to Ge­or­gia’s tax code, af­ter the Ge­or­gia Gen­eral Assem­bly over­whelm­ingly passed its tax re­form bill last week.

Mul­ti­ple mea­sures in H.B. 386 could have sweep­ing af­fects for res­i­dents by in­creas­ing the state in­come tax ex­emp­tion for mar­ried cou­ples by $2,000, do­ing away with the an­nual “birth­day tax” for ve­hi­cles pur­chased af­ter March 1, 2013, re­quir­ing some on­line re­tail­ers to col­lect sales tax and re­in­stat­ing the sales tax hol­i­day for school sup­plies and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient items.

The bill, if signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, is ex­pected to make Ge­or­gia more com­pet­i­tive in its ef­forts to at­tract and re­tain in­dus­try and could lower many in­di­vid­u­als’ tax bur­dens, but it’s also ex­pected to hurt lo­cal tax rev­enues, which could lead to ei­ther higher lo­cal tax rates or a re­duc­tion in ser­vices.

Mar­riage tax ex­emp­tion

Mar­ried cou­ples will now get a larger state tax ex­emp­tion just for be­ing mar­ried. Cur­rently, cou­ples are able to ex­empt, or avoid be­ing taxed, on $5,400 when they file their taxes jointly, but this bill will in­crease the state ex­emp­tion

by $2,000 to $7,400.

Photo il­lus­tra­tion by Josh W. Briggs/the Cov­ing­ton News

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