Georgia House backs charging sales tax on book, video game downloads

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

The Georgia House passed a measure Monday that would charge sales taxes when Georgians download books, video games or music.

House Bill 170 by Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, is the latest attempt by lawmakers to tax products purchased through internet sites in an effort to bring those sales in line with taxes paid when Georgians buy similar products from local stores. It easily passed the House 162-10 and now heads to the Senate for its consideration.

The House and Senate passed legislation in early 2020, a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the economy, to collect more sales taxes on products bought through internet sites. The new tax proved a major boon to the state as Georgians began buying more and more products online. The state has run massive revenue surpluses the past two fiscal years, and the internet sales tax was credited with being one of several factors in that.

Carpenter’s bill expands on the previous measures to include downloads of things such as books, video games and music that a buyer retains possession of. It wouldn’t tax streaming services — such as Netflix — or subscription-based products, he said.

Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin, a longtime member of the committee, said the panel has been looking in recent years at the issue of parity for local stores that charge the state’s 4% sales tax and local sales taxes when Georgians buy products from them.