State Law Update: Georgia Eliminates Double Taxation On Auto Leases

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On March 5, Georgia enacted HB 266, which, among other things, eliminates a monthly sales tax on auto leases. The bill responds to a 2012 overhaul of the state’s tax code that mistakenly created a double tax on car leases, requiring payment of a Title Ad Valorem Tax of 6.5% to be paid by both lessees and purchasers of motor vehicles in the state, as well as the monthly sales and use tax to be paid by lessees. This additional tax had the effect of making motor vehicle leases less attractive than purchases, and at the same time likely would have resulted in lower overall taxes payable to the state. The bill also allows the Georgia Department of Revenue to decide whether and how to regulate “buy here, pay here” dealers. If the Department does create such rules, it has discretion to provide those dealers a larger discount from the normal title tax. The bill took effect immediately.