Beginning today (March 1, 2013), there are a few changes to the way motor vehicles will be taxed in the state of Georgia. We all know Atlanta homeowners have some of the worst commutes in the nation, and with the rising cost of gas, saving money on your car is probably at the top of your list. The good news concerning the new taxing standard is that the longer you keep your car, the more likely it is that the new upfront fee is less than paying a yearly fee would have been.

Vehicles purchased on or after March 1, 2013 and titled in Georgia will be exempt from sales tax and the annual ad valorem tax, also known as the “birthday tax.” Instead, buyers will pay the title ad valorem tax (TAVT), which is a one-time tax that is imposed on the fair market value of the vehicle at the time the vehicle is titled.

For the first year, the rate assessed will be 6.5 percent of the fair market value, which is identified in the Georgia Motor Vehicle Assessment Manual. After that, the 2014 rate will be increased to 6.75 percent and will increase again in 2015 to 7 percent. The TAVT is applicable to dealer and casual sales, but doesn’t include non-titled vehicles such as trailers, which will still pay the ad valorem tax.

Vehicles purchased prior to January 1, 2012 will also still pay the birthday tax. Vehicles purchased between January 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013 will have the option to opt-into the new TAVT, and can visit the Georgia Department of Revenue’s website to use its online calculator to decide which option is better for their individual situation. Owners who want to opt-in to the TVAT system will need to visit their local county tag office before December 31, 2013.

Whether your commute is just down the block or more than an hour from your Atlanta new home, chances are your car is your main method of transportation in and around the city. And hopefully, thanks to the new TAVT, the costs associated with your car will do down, even if you can’t do anything about the horrible Atlanta traffic.

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