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By David S. Fried

New laws effective July 1, 2018 may impact your decision to purchase a new car, change your neighborhood firefighters’ benefits, help out concert promotors in Georgia, and allow your dental hygienist to provide basic dental care without a dentist present. 

So read on…

Buying or Leasing a New Car?

Act 197; HB 340.  This Act revises the alternative ad valorem tax on motor vehicles by modifying the determination of fair market value of motor vehicles that are leased. The Act amends O.C.G.A. Section 48-5C-1 and is applicable to all tax years beginning on and after July 1, 2018.

What does this mean?  New lease owners will pay less tax.  Before, lease owners paid a tax on the full value of the leased vehicle.  Now, new lease holders will pay a tax based upon the life/payments of the lease.

Georgia House Bill 340 now requires that the Department of Revenue (DOR) provide two methods of calculating TAVT for new, leased vehicles:

1. The previously used calculation method based on vehicle value (either the value contained in the DOR assessment manual or the agreed upon value contained in the lease agreement, whichever is higher), or

2. A new calculation method based on the total of the base payments pursuant to the lease agreement (including any down payments).

If Option (1) is selected, the trade-in value (if present) and the value of any rebate (if present) will be subtracted to determine the fair market value (FMV), which determines the TAVT due. If Option (2) is selected, FMV may not be reduced by the values of trade-ins and rebates.  The FMV will then be multiplied by the applicable TAVT rate to determine the TAVT due.  The calculation of TAVT for all used vehicles (whether leased or purchased) and for new vehicles that are purchased will not change.

Know a Firefighter?

TITLE 25 FIRE PROTECTION AND SAFETY Act 142; HB 146  revises the insurance coverage that fire departments must maintain for firefighters and provides for requirements for certain insurance coverage benefit payments to firefighters. For example, the Act states that local fire departments will be required to pay a lump sum to any firefighter diagnosed with certain types of cancer as well as up to three years of disability to those who can’t work because of injury or illness related to the job.

The Act also provides an exemption for certain benefits received from and a deduction for certain premiums paid for certain insurance coverage for firefighters in the computation of Georgia taxable net income. The Act amends O.C.G.A. Sections 25-3-23, 36-85-1, 36-85-2, 36-85-5, and 48-7-27.

Dentist or Hygienist?

Act 177; HB 154 authorizes licensed dental hygienists to perform certain new functions under general or direct supervision of a licensed dentist.  In the private setting, for example, this includes Oral Prophylaxis and Assessment, Application of Sealants, Fluoride Treatment, Oral Hygiene Instruction and Education and Exposure and Processing of Radiographs (if the radiographs are provided for by specific standing orders of the authorizing licensed dentist).   The Act also requires dental hygienists working under supervision in a private setting to maintain liability insurance.

Why expand these procedures to hygienists?  See Section 1 of the bill.  Statistics show that nearly one-third of older adults have untreated tooth decay and nearly 25 percent of adults ages 65 to 74 have severe gum disease. Statistics also show that a significant percentage of lower income children in Georgia do not have adequate access to dental care, putting them at significant risk of developing tooth decay and other health conditions.

Allowing an expanded group to perform basic preventative care is the most cost-effective way to help this underserved segment of our community and avoid future, costlier problems.

Go here for answers to the most frequently asked questions on this one.

Rock on!

Act 223; HB 155, also known as the “Georgia Musical Investment Act,” is designed to create, maintain and grow thousands of music jobs in Georgia.  The Act provides for an income tax credit for certain expenditures made in the production of state certified musical or theatrical productions or recorded musical performances. This program is akin to the incentives credits which brought Hollywood to Georgia.  HB-155 lifts ALL aspects of the music industry; recording, scoring, and live productions.

How does the Act work?  How does it help?

LIVE PRODUCTIONS.  GMIA will attract touring productions by incentivizing them to audition, rehearse, and begin their tours in Georgia. They will receive a 15-25% tax credit if they spend over $500,000 in Georgia.  These touring operations hire hundreds of crew, staff, techs, and other team members. Their benefits increase if they hire Georgia residents.  Georgi has already seen how successful this plan has been in the film industry:  the large film studios get the tax credit but the plan continues to creat thousands of job opportunities for Georgia actors, PA’s and supporting businesses.

RECORDING.  There is a 15-25% tax credit for all projects recorded in Georgia that spend a minimum of $100,000 (aggregate in a year). The goal here is to attract bigger budget projects or multiple projects by labels, artists, publishers, and production development teams.

By allowing these projects to be aggregated, the incentives attract multiple projects by the same companies. This will help Georgia develop relationships between the companies and the talent of Georgia’s producers, engineers, musicians, and music businesses. This, in turn, will continue to grow Georgia’s music businesses and allow studios to bill more time and hire more staff.

SCORING.  On average, music is 5% of the production budget for film and TV. With video games, it can be even more. GMIA offers a 15-25% tax credit for all projects recorded in Georgia that spend a minimum of $250,000 (aggregate in a year). And video game music and scoring projects are increasing in size and scope. Georgia is in a unique position to capitalize on these opportunities with 16 talented symphonies and strong music, film and video game industries. So, this portion of the Act will create jobs ranging from orchestral to session musicians, composers, studio owners, producers, and countless others.

2018 Resolutions:  Lease a car, hug a firefighter, get your teeth cleaned and rock on!


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