Vehicle tag fees are grossly unfair to Georgia's newest residents

  • Follow Opinion columns

My husband and I recently moved to Evans. His job led us to the area. Because his job is in South Carolina, we were persuaded to look at homes in the Aiken/North Augusta area, because of proximity to work and low taxes. We decided, ultimately, that Georgia was a better fit for our family. We liked the community and the schools. We were willing to pay higher property taxes for those amenities.

WE WERE MOST unpleasantly shocked when we went to renew our vehicle tags. We had heard about the changes to the ad valorem tax. We tried to read about it to better understand and were left more confused. Unfortunately, we were left with no choice but to just wing it and get tags. In the previous states we have lived in, our tags were in the range of $150 to $200 yearly, so we expected a somewhat comparable cost.

Boy, were we mistaken! Upon our arrival at the tag agency, the customer service associate explained to us that we would be responsible for 6.5 percent the value of our vehicles. That totaled $650 for a 2004 Toyota 4 Runner and $1,100 for a 2009 Chevrolet pickup. You can imagine our shock when we were being told we owed $1,750 to tag our vehicles. The associate, who could see our utter shock and frustration said, “Well, it’s not too bad, you can pay half now and half in six months.” That didn’t help; we still owed $875 that day!

HOW MANY working-class, average, hard-working families do you know that just have $875 laying around? We don’t. We both work, we have children, we have groceries, a house payment, utilities – I could go on for a long time here. We make a pretty good income, but this was possibly the most ridiculous thing we had ever heard of – $1,750 to tag a vehicle?

I suspect when the law was changed, no one thought about how it would be punishing people moving into the state of Georgia. If you lived here already, you were on the old system until you bought a new car. Once you bought a new car, the ad valorem tax would just be figured into the total cost of the car and figured into the loan. But if you move here, now all of sudden you have to pay an exorbitant amount of tax to tag a vehicle.

I can honestly say if we knew this, we may have considered living in South Carolina just to avoid this ridiculous cost. But we wanted to live in Georgia, and now we are being punished for that decision.

Another issue to consider is that we already paid tax on the vehicles when we purchased them in our respective states. In both Oklahoma and Iowa, you pay an excise tax at the time of purchase. I paid that tax when I bought my car and so did my husband. Essentially, the ad valorem tax is comparable, so now I am being double-taxed, which is illegal.

I STRONGLY URGE the state of Georgia to look into the system and determine whether this is really the best course of action for vehicle tags. I have a suspicion that Georgia is going to have an increase of people driving with expired tags and people going around the system to keep their vehicles tagged in their originating state. Georgia is putting an undue burden on new residents and unfairly punishing everyone who is moving to this state.

Comments (9) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
dahreese
4869
Points
dahreese 07/13/13 - 10:24 pm
5
7
This new tag fee isn't fair
Unpublished

This new tag fee isn't fair to anybody.

Designed by Republicans, passed by Republicans.

Riverman1
90727
Points
Riverman1 07/14/13 - 06:58 am
9
0
Absolutely Absurd Tax

An absolutely absurd tax. That's way out of line, especially considering people are moving their homes and have lots of bills already. This level of taxation for tags has to be fixed soon. A border war of taxation with the people being the victims could result if it's not corrected

deestafford
30460
Points
deestafford 07/14/13 - 07:19 am
9
0
I wonder how much pressure is being put on our state

representatives to change it. Would the Chronicle check with our representatives to get their thoughts and what they plan to do about it?

soapy_725
43963
Points
soapy_725 07/14/13 - 09:31 am
0
0
Something sounds a miss? The option to pay 6.5 or ad valorem?
Unpublished

Something sounds a miss? The option to pay 6.5 or ad valorem?

soapy_725
43963
Points
soapy_725 07/14/13 - 09:33 am
0
0
You need to know your rights. What was the GA website value?
Unpublished

Did you look before you leap?

soapy_725
43963
Points
soapy_725 07/14/13 - 09:35 am
0
0
Try Virginia. Autos, lawnmowers, mopeds, golf carts, ATV's
Unpublished

Try Virginia. Autos, lawnmowers, mopeds, ATV's

seenitB4
93813
Points
seenitB4 07/14/13 - 11:28 am
6
0
Too severe

Did our lawmakers think of this when they made this law...it needs to be tweaked.

Miket61
3
Points
Miket61 07/14/13 - 11:33 am
1
4
Not good for incoming residents, but...

It's great for people buying a new car through a dealer.

We replaced an 8% tax and an annual fee with a 6.5% tax.

The author is comparing "$150 to $300 a year" with the $1,750 they had to pay to register in Georgia. The $1,750 covers as long as they own the vehicles, and if they replace them while living in Georgia they pay the 6.5% tax on the new vehicle (instead of 8%) and still don't pay that $150 to $300 per year.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 07/14/13 - 02:03 pm
1
1
Tag Fees
Unpublished

Yes, it is unfair that tag fees are so high. They are so high because many have found a way to use the same roads while paying no fee at all. You have to pick up their share. Go back to the tag office and tell them you forgot, your cars were made by Easy-Go or Club Car, tell them you have to pedal them, get a paper plate with the word "moped" on it, duct tape it to the car and have fun! See how fair that is? Oh and by the way, do one of these and you will then be a protected species. You can do what ever you want in traffic and when you are hit, it will not be your fault so you don't even have to have insurance!

dichotomy
36290
Points
dichotomy 07/14/13 - 04:24 pm
2
0
Yes, the new system is hard

Yes, the new system is hard on new folks coming in. However, for the residents it will eventually completely phase out the ANNUAL AD VALOREM tax as people trade cars and come under the new system. I personally think the OLD system was the most unfair of all where you had to pay a SALES TAX when you bought a new car, and also had to pay two or three HUNDRED dollars, or more, a year AD VALOREM TAX every year if you had a late model car. At least now, you only get taxed 6.5% on your vehicle once and that is less than the 8% (thanks to TSPLOST) current full Richmond County sales tax.

Little Lamb
48004
Points
Little Lamb 07/14/13 - 06:17 pm
1
0
Better

Yes, I think dichotomy has analyzed it reasonably. There will always be winners and losers, but I think paying the 6.5% tax one time is better than bleeding out the old ad valorem tax year after year.

I may be wrong about this, but I think the Georgia legislature got the idea from South Carolina, who did away with their "car tax" a few years ago.

corgimom
36802
Points
corgimom 07/14/13 - 07:46 pm
2
0
Dear Laura Lowry, you

Dear Laura Lowry, you should've been here before, when you got bled to death over a period of years with ad valorem tax.

You'll cope. You'll do fine. No more yearly tags, you'll appreciate that.

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 07/15/13 - 08:49 pm
0
0
A lot of money

That is a lot of money to have to pay up front.

SGT49
2199
Points
SGT49 07/17/13 - 07:04 am
0
0
There are all sorts of costs

There are all sorts of costs associated with moving. Where ever you move there will be auto registration fees. When it comes time to buy a new vehicle, you'll start reaping the benefits of the new system. Why didn't you consider registering one vehicle now and the other later?

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs