Close to 30 tax exemption or tax credit type bills passed the House of Representatives in the 2008 Session and were considered by the Senate. There were about 25 of those voted on and passed by the Senate. These affected a narrow scope of Georgians and businesses in some instances and in others were far reaching in application. Gov. Sonny Perdue vetoed HB 1249, which pertained to the relocation of a solar products company corporate headquarters.
Tax bills are normally written to go into effect on Jan. 1 at the beginning of the tax year, although if a sunset date is included from previous legislation, the continuation of the benefit might start on July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year. So some changes are already in effect, those bills having been dated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2008. Others will go into effect Jan. 1, 2009.
Here is a summary of some of the tax bills passed this Session:
HB 237 — Provides a sales tax exemption of up to $150,000 on purchases of manufacturing equipment or warehousing equipment if part of a $5 million expansion. Also includes air and water pollution abatement equipment. Includes dies, waxes and molds. Effective date Jan.1, 2009.
HB 272 — Caps sales tax on energy used in certain manufacturing processes at 2008 prices. Caps state but not local sales taxes. Effective date July 1.
HB 670 — Provides a state income tax credit for hauling wood residuals used in biomass fuel production. Also gives an income tax credit of $2,500 per home for installation of geothermal, solar or wind energy devices. Allows a 5-year carry forward of the credits which vary by type. Begins July 1, 2008 and sunsets Dec. 31, 2012. Limits on statewide credit at $2.5 million in 2008, and other years until 2012.
HB 851 — Allows a state income tax credit for rehabilitation of certified historic structures up to 25 percent of the cost or $100,000 over 120 months. Will begin Jan. 1, 2009.
HB 948 — Continues the sales tax holiday for school related clothing and materials, July 31- Aug. 3. Moves the energy efficient appliances tax-free holiday to Oct. 2-5. Gold Star rated appliances are sales tax free up to $1,500.
HB 1014 — Expands the Georgia college savings plan (www.Path2College529Plan.com) to allow a state income tax deduction for grandparents and others who invest in these plans who are not the parents as was previously the requirement. There is a $100,000 joint income tax limit above which reductions in credit occur. Georgia presently has a fund of $638 million with some 93,000 accounts. Tennessee has even joined Georgia’s plan and transferred their assets to Georgia’s plan. Georgia perhaps should have included water in this agreement.
HB 1133 — Allows a tax credit for taxpayers who contribute up to $1,000 to a qualified scholarship program set up by a corporation who administers the plan. These scholarships allow deserving children to attend private schools on a needs-based scale. The creating corporation also receives a tax credit. There is a yearly $50 million cap on the credit after which no additional credits would be issued. The bill was effective Jan. 1.
HB 1159 — Provides a yearly Georgia income tax credit for up to $2,000 for a taxpayer adopting a foster child prior to the age of 18 until that age. This credit went into effect on Jan. 1. Unfortunately, this credit is only available for adoptions after the effective date.
HB 1196 — Provides a 25 percent tax credit for investments in the investment pools that help start-up companies who are being created out of Georgia research sites. Credit was authorized beginning July 1.
HB 1100 — Gives a 20 percent income tax credit to qualified film, video or digital productions made in Georgia with a 10 percent additional credit to films that show Georgia’s logo in film credits. Went into effect Jan. 1.
HB 1178 — Extends the sales tax exemption now allowed to the swine industry for liquefied gas or other fuel.
HB 1211 — Forest Land Protection Act — applies additional rules in the qualification of property for conservation use assessment. Includes property contiguous or one half of more of an existing tract being qualified and removes the requirement of a soil map. Also requires tax assessors to separate the land value from the forest land for taxing purposes.
HB 1078 — Clarifies the sales tax exemption of durable medical equipment and prosthetic devices.
SB 159 — Changes the date for filing the initial homestead exemption application to anytime before Dec. 31.
For access to the actual bill as passed, go the General Assembly Web site: www.legis.state.ga.us and click on “Legislation.”