Deal signs tax bill into law; changes come in stages

Car buyers, married couples, manufacturers, farmers, Internet shoppers and retirees -- all will feel the new law's impact.

“This tax reform package makes Georgia a better place to run and grow a business, and makes it an even better place to raise a family,” Deal said. "These reforms could not have been made without the leadership of the General Assembly, and these significant changes will serve Georgians well.”

The governor signed the bill during a manufacturers conference in College Park.

Key pieces of the new law include:

● Eliminating the state sales tax on energy used in manufacturing. The tax will be phased out beginning Jan. 1 and will be fully eliminated Jan. 1., 2016. The governor has said this provision helped the state land Baxter International and Caterpillar, two recent economic development triumphs. Eliminating the tax could eventually cost the state about $95 million, and estimates show local governments losing up to $100 million.

● Increasing the income tax exemption for married couples filing jointly from $5,400 to $7,400. This takes effect Jan. 1.

● Eliminating the annual property tax on motor vehicles that owners must pay by their birthdays. Car buyers beginning March 1 will no longer have to pay the tax to their county. Instead, they will pay a one-time fee when they buy a car.

● Reinstating sales tax holidays for shoppers seeking back-to-school products Aug. 10-11 and energy-efficient appliances Oct. 5-7. The former covers a wide range of items, including clothing, computers, books and paper. The latter covers federally approved energy-efficient appliances and goods for personal use, including dishwashers and windows.

● Eliminating a sales tax on certain products used in agricultural industries. The exemption takes effect Jan. 1.

● Requiring many online retailers to collect state sales taxes. Beginning Oct. 1, retailers who have a physical presence in the state, including online affiliates, will have to collect sales taxes from consumers.

● Capping the retirement income exemption for seniors at $65,000 ($130,000 per couple) beginning Jan. 1.

● Creating a permanent 1 percent sales tax exemption on commercial aviation fuel beginning July 1.

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