Georgia Tax Law
Taxes are a part of everyday life in Georgia. You’ll pay taxes for almost everything tangible or intangible, like for mortgage loans, batteries, food, banking, etc. There are taxes you may be unaware of, too, and these can get you into trouble if you don’t pay them.
Whether you live in Atlanta, Decatur or LaFayette, you’ll need to account for the various state and federal taxes in your budget, including everyday sales and gasoline taxes. It can be easy to get lost in all of the taxes you’ll owe, so use the information in LawInfo’s Georgia tax law articles to become familiar with them and to avoid penalties.
Georgia Personal Income Taxes
One of the largest portions of your overall tax burden in Georgia is your personal income tax. Throughout the year, a portion of your paychecks must be withheld to pay for the state income tax. Who is responsible for withholding for taxes depends on your relationship with your employer.
Your employment contract or agreement will clarify whether the worker is fully responsible for withholding income for taxes or if the employer has some responsibility to pay your income taxes via a payroll tax.
The method for determining how much you should withhold from your paychecks for income taxes is complex. To make things simpler, Georgia provides an income tax table which you can quickly use for reference. It lists the various income ranges and how much income tax you should pay based on your filing status (e.g. single or married and filing jointly/separately). The tables change annually.
Georgia Sales and Use Taxes
Georgia’s state sales and use tax rate is four percent on goods and services as of January 2017. Use taxes are levied on customers who buy goods or services from sellers who didn’t collect sales taxes from the purchase. Basically, if you buy something from outside of Georgia sales tax-free and use it in the state, you would need to pay the state use tax.
Georgia counties may charge higher sales and use tax rates. Georgia’s Department of Revenue publishes a quarterly chart listing all of the counties and their current sales taxes.
Georgia Sin Taxes
“Sin” taxes are levied on consumer products like alcohol and tobacco wherever these things are legalized. They act as additional sales taxes (a.k.a. excise taxes) for products or services that are culturally perceived as vices. Sin taxes are meant to dissuade consumers from purchasing or using the taxed products or services without making them illegal.
Georgia charges the following sin taxes:
- $0.37/pack of 20 cigarettes.
- 23 percent of the wholesale cost on cigars.
- 10 percent of the wholesale cost on other tobacco products.
- $1.08/case of 24: 12-ounce containers of malt beverages.
- $1.20/case of 24: 12-ounce containers of beer.
- $0.11/liter of table wine (less than 14 percent alcoholic content) made in Georgia. $0.40/liter of table wine made outside of Georgia.
- $0.27/liter of dessert wine (between 14 and 21 percent alcoholic content) made in Georgia. $0.67/liter of dessert wine made outside of Georgia.
- $0.50/liter of distilled spirits (less than 190 proof) made in Georgia. $1.00/liter of distilled spirits made outside of Georgia.
- $0.70/liter of alcohol (anything over 190 proof) made in Georgia. $1.40/liter of alcohol made outside of Georgia.