taxes

Politics
5:17 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Talk Of Tax Hike For Transportation Has Some Already Concerned

State leaders say what’s being raised by Georgia's gas tax isn’t enough for improvements.
Credit Gregor Smith / flickr.com/flc

Republican state lawmakers appear ready to raise taxes or fees to pay for Georgia’s underfunded transportation network, a development setting off alarm bells for some voters.

"I think they can find what they need to improve the roads with what they've got," says George Bicknell, a midtown Atlanta resident."We fund a lot of things that don’t need funding and nobody’s willing to let their own pet projects be cut and so the cry is always 'more taxes,' not 'let’s prioritize what we've got.'"

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Local
8:11 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Cobb Voters to Decide on SPLOST Renewal

Credit Chris Ferguson/WABE News

Georgians will head to the polls Tuesday to vote for governor and U.S. Senate. But they’ll also face some ‘ballot initiatives,’ those questions that come at the end of the ticket. This year, Cobb residents decide whether to renew a one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST.

The tax would fund a long list of projects that include upgrading roads, bridges, and drainage systems.

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Local
6:00 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Judge Sides With Fulton In First Round Of Property Tax Case

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Fulton County scored an initial victory Thursday in a court case that will determine whether the county had the authority to approve a 17 percent property tax increase. Fulton commissioners voted for the property tax hike last month.

Senior Cobb County Superior Court Judge G. Grant Brantley decided not to block Fulton County from collecting about $1,300 in additional taxes owed by 7 current and former state lawmakers filing suit against Fulton. The lawmakers asked the judge to prevent the county from collecting the money while the case is underway.

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Local
12:05 am
Sat August 9, 2014

State Lawmakers Sue Fulton County

Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton.
Credit Georgia General Assembly

Six Fulton state lawmakers and one former state lawmaker have filed suit against Fulton County to block Fulton from raising its property tax rate. The legal action comes after the Fulton commission voted to raise the county’s millage rate by more than 17% this week. Those suing the county claim it violates a state law that says the county cannot raise its property tax rate until 2015.

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Local
6:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Fulton Millage Rate Increase Could Lead to Court Challenge

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Fulton County could potentially face a court challenge after passing a more than 17 percent millage rate increase Wednesday. A state lawmaker says she and others are exploring legal options because of a state law banning the county from raising property taxes until 2015.

Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, authored the 2013 law which prohibits Fulton from increasing property taxes until next year. She thinks the county’s decision to raise its millage rate breaks that law.

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Local
5:34 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Fulton Co. Commission Votes To Approve 17% Property Tax Increase

Fulton County Courthouse
Credit georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu

NOTE: this story has been superceded by a later story.

WABE reporter Michelle Wirth says that the Fulton County Commission has voted 4-3 to approve a 17% increase in the property tax, despite a state law that says Fulton can't increase its property tax until 2015.

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Local
4:25 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Fulton County Commission Approves 17 Percent Tax Increase

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Fulton County residents will soon see higher property tax bills. Today, the Fulton County commission voted 4 to 3 in favor of a more than 17 percent property tax increase. The increase could lead to a court challenge because of a Georgia law banning the county from raising taxes until 2015.

Despite the law, Commissioners voted to raise the county’s general fund millage rate by 1.57 mills. Commission Chairman John Eaves says he believes the county is on solid legal footing.

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Local
6:00 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Fulton Commissioners To Vote on Proposed Property Tax Increase

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Fulton County Commissioners are expected to vote today on a proposed property tax increase of more than 17 percent.

The vote comes after the commission decided to delay a vote on the proposed increase last month to allow three additional public hearings. If approved, county officials say it would mean a $140 increase for those with a $275,000 home.

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Business
4:18 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

A Tax-Free Weekend Ahead

A list of examples of what clothing is and is not tax-free this weekend.
Robert Aaron/WABE

Expect stores to be a little more crowded on Friday and Saturday.  That’s because many Georgians will take advantage of the state’s annual back-to-school tax-free weekend. 

  For roughly 48-hours, Georgians will be able to stock up on school supplies, computers and clothing without having to pay state and local taxes on those items. 

Nick Genesi is a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Revenue.

“Whether you are a teacher, whether you are a student or whether you’re a parent anytime you can save some money, it’s a good thing.”

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Local
4:49 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Fulton Residents Speak in Opposition to Proposed Property Tax Hike

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

During the first of three hearings, several Fulton County residents called on county commissioners to reject a proposed property tax increase of more than 17 percent.

The majority speaking during the sparsely attended hearing asked commissioners to vote against a plan to raise Fulton County's millage rate by 1.57 mills.  If approved, that would mean a $140 increase for those with a $275,000 home. College Park Resident Kip Carr asked commissioners to trim the county’s budget instead.

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Local
10:21 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Cobb Commission Could Create Special Tax District in South Cobb

Credit Cobb County

  Cobb County Commissioners will hear a proposal Tuesday by the South Cobb Development Authority to raise property taxes on businesses and rental properties in part of South Cobb. Officials say a 3.5 mills increase would help buy blighted properties and improve interchanges and streetscapes.

Boundaries for the special services district would stretch from the Cobb County and Fulton County line all the way to the Cobb and Douglass County border. It would also include areas north of I-20 along the Six Flags over Georgia corridor.

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Local
5:40 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Fulton County to Advertise for Potential Property Tax Increase

Fulton County commissioners listen to residents speak for and against a potential property tax increase.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Fulton County commissioners voted 5 to 2 to advertise a potential property tax increase that could amount to a more than 17 percent increase for county homeowners. If commissioners approve the increase, the matter will likely end up in court. That’s because a state law prohibits Fulton from raising property taxes until 2015.

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Local
3:00 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Dwindling Federal Gas Tax Funds Put Georgia Transportation Projects on Hold

The intersection of Flat Shoals Road and I-285 is one of GDOT's projects that may be stalled due to lack of funding.
Chris Ferguson/WABE

Gas prices are heading down nationwide and in Georgia.

The average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded was $3.65 Sunday, May 11, which was the twelfth day in a row the price declined.

American Automobile Association spokesman Mark Jenkins says prices should continue to drop throughout the summer because of unprecedented crude oil supply. “Here in the Gulf Coast refineries, they’re at record levels of petroleum,” said Jenkins. And last month, they reached their highest monthly average of production since 1988.”

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Local
5:00 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Senate Approves Ballot Question to Cap Georgia's Income Tax Rate

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The Georgia Senate approved a resolution 42 to 11 to let voters decide whether to cap the state’s income tax rate at its current level within the state’s Constitution.

Right now, the state’s income tax rate is 6 percent for all Georgians who make more than $7,000. Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer says his resolution will help the state be more competitive. He says although Georgia’s income tax rate is lower than the federal tax rate, it’s higher than most other Southern states.

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Local
6:13 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Tax Increase in Fulton's 2014 Budget Could Lead to Court Showdown

The Fulton County Commission during a January budget hearing.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Fulton County could be on a collision course to court after passing a 2014 budget yesterday that includes a 15 percent tax increase. Several state lawmakers in the Fulton Republican delegation say if county commissioners finalize the tax increase later this year, they are breaking a state law capping Fulton’s property taxes.

House Republican Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones says the 1.57 percent millage rate increase would violate a state law freezing the county’s property tax rate until the beginning of 2015.

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Local
4:35 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Under State Pressure, Atlanta Agrees To Tax Sharing Plan

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed
Credit City of Atlanta

Under state pressure to reach a unanimous agreement, Fulton County and its 14 cities finalized a plan Thursday to share an estimated $240 million in annual sales tax revenue.

State officials had said the county could lose the tax revenue altogether if every jurisdiction didn’t sign on.

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Local
6:00 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

GA Hosts Tax-Free Weekend for Water, Power Items

Georgians looking for home fix-it project items can save money this weekend.

For the second time in as many years, Georgians will have a tax-free weekend on certain items that conserve water and energy.

Starting Friday, so-called WaterSense products, including faucets, toilets and showerheads, are tax-free.

State officials say WaterSense items conserve at least 20% more water than typical ones.

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Politics
5:28 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

IRS Rules Georgia Married Same-Sex Couples Can File Joint Taxes

The US Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday ruled legally married same-sex couples will be allowed to file their taxes jointly starting in 2013.

The ruling comes in response to the June 26 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The ruling applies to couples regardless of where they live, though only extends to couples whose marriage is recognized by a jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is legalized, not civil unions or domestic partnerships.

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Local
6:01 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Georgians Take Advantage of Sales Tax Holiday

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Shoppers are already taking advantage of Georgia’s sales tax holiday. During the next two days, shoppers can purchase clothing, computers and school supplies under certain dollar amounts tax free. WABE’s Michelle Wirth spoke with shoppers about the holiday.

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WABE News
9:00 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Cobb County Home Owners Could See Tax Reduction

Cobb County homeowners could see a slight reduction in their upcoming property tax bills.

Cobb County property owners may see some relief in their tax bills next month. County commissioners are considering a proposal that would slightly lower the millage rate.

The proposal reduces the rate by .2 mills. So the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $14 less than last year. Cobb County commission chair Tim Lee says he’s fulfilling a promise he made after commissioners had to raise the property tax rate significantly in 2011.

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HB 604: Fulton Co. vs. State of Georgia
6:00 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Legal Scholar: Fulton County May Not Be Able to Beat HB 604

Frank S. Alexander is the Sam Nunn Professor of Law at Emory University. He is an expert on state and local government law.
Credit Emory University School of Law

Fulton County says it is on firm legal ground in rejecting a new state law that stops the County from raising property tax rates for two years.

But an Emory University law scholar says that may not be the case.

Fulton County’s position is that House Bill 604, passed earlier this year and signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, violates the County's right to home rule. Home rule was the focus of a state constitutional overhaul in 1983.

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Local
5:00 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Gwinnett School Board Considers Property Tax Rate Increase

Credit Gwinnett County Public Schools

The Gwinnett County School Board is considering a plan to raise property taxes. If approved, it would be the first increase in eight years.

The board is considering a total millage rate increase of 1.3 mills. That would mean approximately $101 more per year for those living in a $200,000 dollar home. Rick Cost is the Chief Financial officer for the district. He says the plan has been proposed to help avoid teacher furlough days, add school resource officers and repay bonds used for constructing classrooms.

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WABE News
2:33 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

State Spending to Increase $800 Million, Mostly to Keep Up With Growth

House Appropriations Chairman Terry England (left) and Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill look on as Gov. Nathan Deal signs into law the 2014 budget.
Credit Office of Gov. Nathan Deal

Pledging continued fiscal restraint, Gov. Nathan Deal today signed into law the state’s 2014 budget.

“We believe this is a budget that will maintain the fiscal conservatism that has been represented in the other budgets I’ve had the pleasure of signing,” said Deal.

The $19.9 billion budget includes an increase of $819 million, or 4.6 percent, compared to last year.

Most of the budget increase goes to keeping up with growing healthcare and education costs.

Deal said budget restraint would be key as the economy continues its modest recovery.

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WABE News
4:46 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

President Obama's Budget Includes Expansion of Pre-Kindergarten Programs

Credit Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal includes $75 billion to expand pre-kindergarten programs.  It’s the same plan the president introduced when he visited a pre-k center in Decatur in February. Due to the success of its pre-k program, Georgia could receive a share of the money.

The president’s proposal increases the cigarette tax to pay for the expansion. Bobby Cagle, the commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, says  he supports a pre-k expansion, but favors an alternative funding source.

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WABE News
10:05 am
Fri April 12, 2013

April 15 Tax Deadline Looms for Late Filers

Monday is April 15th, the deadline to file 2012 taxes.
Credit The Internal Revenue Service

The deadline to file taxes for 2012 is Monday.

Officials at the Internal Revenue Service, remind filers to take an extra-close look at the paperwork before turning it over to the government.

"Probably one of the most costly errors that I've seen over the last 28 years has been where individuals complete everything, double-check all the math, double-check all the social security numbers and then send in the return without signing it.  So that's been a very costly error," says IRS spokesman Mark Green.

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WABE News
4:49 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

College Park Wins Airport Tax Victory in Court

The Supreme Court of Georgia has given the City of College Park a green light to tax business licenses of vendors at the Atlanta Airport.
Credit Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled today that the City of College Park can tax businesses at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The two cities have been feuding for years over whether College Park can tax businesses at the airport, some of which lie within the College Park city limits.

By a six-to-one decision, the Court upheld an appeals court ruling that allows College Park to levy taxes on airport business licenses within its boundaries. Atlanta City Attorney Cathy Hampton told WABE that the City is reviewing its next steps in the suit.

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WABE News
7:00 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Legislation Aims to Stop Clayton County from Taxing Airport Vendors

Clayton County has gotten more than $10 million in revenue over the last three years by taxing airport vendors.
Credit Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

A bill making its way through the Georgia Senate right now would stop Clayton County from taxing vendors at the Atlanta Airport. But county officials say creating a new law will not necessarily stop it.

Since 2010, Clayton County has collected more than $10 dollars in ad valorem taxes from airport vendors. Just two years ago, the county lost tax revenue when the state gave Delta Airlines tax breaks on fuel.

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Local
10:49 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Georgians Urged to Take Advantage of Free Tax Preparation Program

Rep. Tom Price (R)
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

With just over a month until the April 15 tax deadline, Georgia Congressman Tom Price visited Chamblee Monday to encourage eligible Georgians to take advantage of a free tax preparation program.

Congressman Price urged Georgians to take advantage of the IRS and Georgia Free File Program. The program allows taxpayers who make $57,000 or less to file their state and federal taxes online for free.

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Local
6:05 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

New Vehicle Tax Change Takes Effect

Cobb County residents wait in line at a tag office in East Cobb County.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Lines in at least three Metro Atlanta county tax offices were longer than normal Friday as the state began phasing out the so-called birthday tax. Under the new system, Georgians purchasing vehicles or getting their vehicles as of March 1 will have to pay a one-time 6.5 percent tax rather than the yearly Ad Valorem tax. Those purchasing vehicles between February 28 and January 1, 2012 can choose to opt into the new system.

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Local
4:38 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

DeKalb Commissioners Approve Budget Without Tax Increase

The DeKalb County Commission unanimously passed a nearly $559 million dollar budget Tuesday. Commissioners passed the 2013 budget without a small tax increase originally proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. The budget includes a cost of living adjustment for the county’s lowest paid workers.

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