June Sales Tax Overview
Georgia’s June sales tax revenue has declined -2.7% compared to 2019. The hardest-hit industries are accommodation (-62.71%), miscellaneous services (-20.67%), and utilities (-16.06%). 4 Georgia industries posted positive sales tax growth in June: Other Retail (+18.71%), auto (+9.23%), other services (+4.69%), and general merchandise (+1.64%).
The table below shows how the 5 largest sales tax-generating counties, which contributed 38.92% of all sales tax in June, performed.
|Chatham||$ 6,210,663.06||$ 7,437,251.62||-16.49%|
The next table shows Georgia’s top 5 and bottom 5 counties in terms of sales tax growth. The 10 counties account for 13.37% of Georgia’s total sales tax revenue generation in June 2020.
|Wilkinson||$ 78,749.37||$ 29,311.70||168.66%|
|Lee||$ 423,450.48||$ 266,305.13||59.01%|
|Quitman||$ 17,744.55||$ 13,128.28||35.16%|
|Long||$ 65,359.94||$ 48,491.95||34.79%|
|Lincoln||$ 77,938.26||$ 60,200.61||29.46%|
|Burke||$ 471,213.24||$ 1,391,588.02||-66.14%|
|Heard||$ 222,705.68||$ 354,547.03||-37.19%|
|Greene||$ 450,716.88||$ 581,971.15||-22.55%|
|Dougherty||$ 1,243,366.00||$ 1,550,560.65||-19.81%|
Source: Georgia Department of Revenue Sales Tax Commodity Report
Other Tax Collection Revenue
Individual Income Tax: collections decreased by $5.8 million (-0.6%) compared to 2019 when Income Tax collections totaled more than $1.04 billion.
Corporate Income Tax: collections totaled nearly $98.3 million for a decrease of $127.6 million (-56.5%) from last year when Corporate Tax collections totaled $225.8 million.
Motor Fuel Tax collections: decreased by $24.5 million (-14.9%) compared to FY 2019.
Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees: increased by nearly $2.4 million (+8.4%), while Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections declined by $19.9 million (-31.2%) compared to last year.
Georgia Sales Tax Changes
This month marked the conclusion of the legislative session. The passing of HB 1035 allowed Georgia to take additional measures to ensure economic stability.
- Marketplace Facilitators (H.B. 276) – Collects sales taxes on online transactions overseen by so-called “marketplace facilitator” companies like Google, Amazon and eBay. (Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft are exempted from the state sales tax and instead must pay a flat fee of 50 cents per ride.)
- Vape Tax (S.B. 375) – Levies a 7 percent excise tax on vaping products and raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 in Georgia.
- Film Credits (H.B. 1037) – Requires all film productions located in Georgia to undergo mandatory audits by the Georgia Department of Revenue or third-party auditors picked by the state agency.
On June 18, 2020, the Georgia Senate Finance Committee passed HB 1035 (Tax Exemption and Credit Reform Act of 2020). The bill examined around 40 tax benefits within the state and aimed to reduce or repeal some of the benefits such as:
- Research and Development tax credits (reduced by 25%)
- Rural jobs tax credit
- Deduction for retaliatory insurance taxes paid to other states
- Insurance companies who insure houses of worship
- Low-income housing tax credits (reduced by 50%)
- Rehabilitation tax credits
- Clean energy tax credits
- Certain tax credits related to manufacturing and telecommunication companies
- Tax credits for employers providing childcare
- Revitalization zone tax credits
- Many more including sales tax exemptions that are also scheduled to be eliminated
Source: Georgia HB-1035
Georgia Select Policy Changes
- Alcohol Deliveries (H.B. 879) – Allows restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses licensed to sell alcohol to make home deliveries of beer, wine, and distilled spirits in Georgia.
- Hemp Licensing (H.B. 847) – Requires licenses to be carried by business owners whose trade involves the cultivation, transportation, or selling of hemp products
- COVID-19 Lawsuits (S.B. 359): The bill would shield companies from legal liability unless they show “gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless inﬂiction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.”
- Surprise Billing (H.B. 888) – Curbs the chances for patients to receive unexpectedly high hospital bills by requiring health insurers and health-care providers to settle cost disputes arising from emergency medical procedures performed by out-of-network providers.
- Pharmacy Benefit Managers (H.B. 946) – Sets new restrictions on third-party companies that negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmacies to curb price gouging, largely by forcing those companies to stay within 10 percent of a nationally used price average and offer up full rebates to health plans that are typically given by drugmakers.
- Elderly Care (H.B. 987) – Establishes stricter training and on-site nursing requirements for elderly care facilities in Georgia. Also requires long-term care facilities to report when residents or staff test positive for COVID-19 and to keep a seven-day supply of PPE like masks and hand sanitizer.
- Coal Ash (S.B. 123) – Increases fees for storing toxic coal ash at landfills in Georgia from $1 per ton to $2.50 per ton.
- Creosote burning (H.B. 857) – Bans utilities from burning wooden railroad ties treated in creosote to produce electricity.
- Ethylene Oxide (S.B. 426) – Requires power plants and manufacturing companies to report spills of toxic waste or noxious fumes within 24 hours.
- Timber Construction (H.B. 777) – Allows buildings constructed of “mass timber” to rise as high as 18 stories instead of the current limit of six floors.
Policies that did not get passed
- Gambling: Lawmakers rejected plans to legalize sports betting via the state lottery and won’t allow voters to decide a constitutional amendment on legalizing casinos and horse racing.
- Paid parent leave: An effort backed by House Speaker David Ralston to give paid parental leave to 250,000 state employees and teachers was stymied by the Senate.
- Teach pay raises: Plans to give teachers additional pay raises of up to $2,000 went by the wayside amid budget troubles.
- Income Tax cut: Some Republicans had hoped to again cut Georgia’s top income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.5%, but abandoned plans because of falling revenues.
- Anti-gang efforts: Kemp won more money to fund an anti-gang task force and permission for Georgia Bureau of Investigation lawyers to help prosecute cases, but lawmakers rejected House Bill 994 to toughen criminal penalties for gang offenses.
- Justice Reform: Democrats unsuccessfully introduced bills to repeal Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law and stand-your-ground law and to require changes to policing. Ralston said he found elements of those bills worthy of consideration but that the Legislature ran out of time to give them the serious debate it deserved
- Tobacco Tax: Despite pushes from Democrats and anti-smoking advocates, Republicans rejected attempts to increase Georgia’s cigarette taxes.
- Right to farm: Efforts failed to make it harder for neighbors to sue farming operations for problems like offensive smells or runoff from animal waste failed.
- Hazing: Senate Bill 423 would have raised criminal penalties for members of fraternities, sororities and other college student groups that engage in hazing and require colleges to publicly report on hazing investigations twice a year.
June Sales Tax Report Graphs
Accommodation continues to be the hardest hit industry during the pandemic. With rising COVID-19 cases in Georgia, wholesale and miscellaneous services suffered large declines. Georgia’s new tax policy on marketplace facilitators is expected to bring in lost revenue derived from not capturing online transactions. Despite pushes from Democrats and anti-smoking advocates, Republicans rejected attempts to increase Georgia’s cigarette taxes. However, the house passed the vape tax that allows the state to regulate and tax the product like tobacco.
Despite rising COVID-19 cases, sales tax collections experienced its least decline since March. The recovery, spurred on by the reopening of GA businesses, was led by retail sales collections to be up 18.71%.
Chart Source: Georgia Department of Revenue Sales Tax Commodity Report
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