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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
L to R: Claudia Lawson, DeKalb County Tax Commissioner; Richard Steele, Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner, Arthur Ferdinand, Fulton County Tax Commissioner, and Gail Downing, Cobb County Tax Commissioner
Starting on March 1, the state will start phasing out the so-called birthday tax and begin replacing it with a new vehicle tax system.
Georgia residents purchasing vehicles or getting their vehicles retitled after March 1 will have to pay a one-time 6.5 percent tax rather than the yearly Ad Valorem or birthday tax. However, those buying their vehicles at a dealer can apply the sales tax they pay toward the new fee. Arthur Ferdinand is tax commissioner for Fulton County.
Friday is National Earned Income Tax Credit Day. Government officials, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the IRS are highlighting the federal tax credit and a free tax preparation program that’s available to those earning $49,000 or less.
DeKalb County Commissioners will face tough choices as they begin weighing how to balance the 2013 budget Tuesday.
As a result of declining property tax revenue and the incorporation of the city of Brookhaven, commissioners will have to consider spending cuts or a potential property tax rate increase proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. The 1.9 percent millage rate increase would cost almost $49 more per year for owners of a $200,000 home. But Commissioner Jeff Rader is hoping to avoid that increase.
The fiscal cliff deal reached by Congress didn't address the temporary reduction of the Social Security payroll tax, which expired January 1. For two years, the payroll tax was reduced to 4.2%. This year, it will return to its former rate of 6.2%. Bob Greenberger is a partner with Atlanta-based accounting firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne. He says most Georgians will feel the difference.
“For the average household, which is roughly $50,000, it’s going to cost them about $1000/year," he says, "And for a married couple, it could cost them a couple thousand. So, it’s significant.”
As the medal count increases for U.S., Chinese, and other athletes at this summer's Olympic Games in London, all that hardware is generating significant tax obligations. Alex Knight is a partner with the Atlanta tax and accounting firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP. In a recent conversation, WABE's Steve Goss talked with Mr. Knight about the financial aspects of Olympic competition, and how the definition of being an 'amateur competitor' has changed...
On July 31st, voters across Georgia will go to the polls to cast ballots for or against a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax--or T-SPLOST--in their respective regions. This week, WABE News is airing a series of reports on various aspects of the referendum. To begin, WABE's Steve Goss poses a number of frequently asked questions about the T-SPLOST to Jane Hayse, Chief of Transportation Planning with the Atlanta Regional Commission...
On Friday, July 13th, President Obama repeated his call for Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, except those with income in the top two percent. That could set up a post-election fight with Congressional Republicans, and a possible repeat of last year's fears that the nation would default on its debt, because neither side would budge. WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), one of the members of the bipartisan "Gang of Six," which proposed a tax, debt, and budget blueprint during last year's stalemate.
The Internal Revenue Service says it has millions of dollars waiting for Georgians who didn’t file a federal income tax return in 2008.
IRS spokesman Mark Green says there’s nearly $31,000,000 that belongs to almost 36,000 Georgians. Green says the average refund amount is $581 dollars. He says, most of the unclaimed money belongs to two core groups of taxpayers.
On March 29th, in the final hours of the 2011-2012 legislative session, Gov. Nathan Deal (R-Georgia) sat down with WABE's Denis O'Hayer in the Governor's office at the State Capitol. In part 2 of their conversation, the Governor talked about his major initiatives this year: criminal justice reform, and an overhaul of the state's tax system. He also hinted that the income tax rate cut so many of his fellow Republicans want to see may be difficult to achieve.
Supporters of raising the state’s cigarette tax by a dollar per pack rallied on the steps of the state Capitol Thursday as part of national Kick Butts Day.
Rally organizer Dan Curran says he’s pushing for the tax increase because his father started smoking when he was in high school. Curran’s father quit when he was in his thirties but was later diagnosed with Leukemia.
For years, a federal court has forced Atlanta to drastically improve its water and sewer system. The money for those improvements has come from a citywide penny sales tax.
Last night, Atlanta voters overwhelmingly kept the tax alive.
85% of voters said yes when asked if the municipal option sales tax should be renewed. In a phone interview during Tuesday night’s election special on WABE, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the vote is good news for the city’s residents and for environmentalists.