Signup Underway For Ag Sales Tax Exemption Cards
By: GFB News
11/15/2012 1:44:00 PM
The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is accepting applications for the Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption (GATE) certificate, which Georgia farmers must have to receive sales tax exemptions on farm input materials effective Jan. 1, 2013.
Applications may be completed online at www.agr.georgia.gov or downloaded and mailed to the GDA. There is a $20 fee to process applications online that may be made paid with Visa or MasterCard and a $25 fee for mailed applications that may be paid with a personal check made payable to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Printed applications for mailing to the GDA are available at most county Farm Bureau offices.
Call (855) FARM-TAX / (855) 327-6829 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit the website for more information.
Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McCall and Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) President Zippy Duvall launched the signup for the GATE certificate during a press conference held Nov. 14 at the GFB home office in Macon.
"I encourage farmers to apply for the GATE certificate immediately so they can receive the tax exemptions when they go into effect the first of the year," GFB President Duvall said. "Georgia Farm Bureau worked hard to educate our state officials about the importance of having these sales tax exemptions as the GATE program will help Georgia farmers remain competitive."
GATE, which was created by Georgia House Bill 386 earlier this year, offers qualified ag producers a sales tax exemption on ag equipment and most materials used to produce ag products. The new GATE certificate replaces the Agricultural Certificate of Exemption (ST-A1) form producers currently use to receive existing sales tax exemptions.
"The legislators for a long time wanted to have a more consolidated tax policy for the state," Commissioner Black said. "HB 386 updates and modernizes our tax codes allowing the agribusiness community to become more competitive with our surrounding states."
To qualify for a GATE certificate an applicant must meet one of the following qualifications:
1) produce a minimum of $2,500 of ag products annually,
2) provide a minimum of $2,500 worth of agricultural services annually,
3) maintain orchards, timber or other multi-year products with long-term capacity to produce $2,500 annually, or
4) own property that qualifies for the Conservation Use Value Assessment or Forestland Protection Act
HB 386 broadens the sales tax exemptions for ag inputs by including equipment parts, energy used in producing ag products and other inputs which were previously not exempt.
"House Bill 386 is a comprehensive tax reform bill. There's a lot more to it than just the GATE program. It's one of the best things that we in the Legislature have ever done for production agriculture. It's based on helping real farmers with their input costs."
McCall also addressed how GATE will impact the state budget, saying, "Whatever tax money the farmer is going to save is going to get turned around and spent right back into the economy."s
GFB began work on the sales tax exemption issue in 2010 after the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation creating the Special Council for Tax Reform and Fairness to study Georgia's tax structure. Throughout 2010 GFB members attended council hearings and testified to the importance of having sales tax exemptions for farm production inputs.
In 2011 the council recommended to state officials that farmers keep their existing sales tax exemptions and that the exemptions be expanded to include energy, equipment parts, fence products and more.
There is no deadline to apply for the GATE card as the application process is ongoing. Once GATE is in effect, refunds will not be issued for sales tax paid on farm inputs purchased before producers acquire the GATE card. Certificates will expire each year on Dec. 31 starting in 2013 and must be renewed annually.
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