Black shares updated GATE card details
Farmers who have Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) cards will notice some changes in how the program is implemented, according to Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black. Speaking at the Georgia Farm Bureau Commodity Conference on Aug. 9, Black outlined the updated program mandated by House Bill 886 passed by the Georgia legislature during its 2018 session. Gov. Nathan Deal signed it into law on May 3.
“The GATE program continues to be questioned,” Black said. “We think we’ve answered those questions.”
HB886 set the threshold at $5,000 in total farm sales to qualify for GATE, rather than the previous threshold of $2,500 in sales per commodity. It also raised the registration fees. Previously, GATE applicants paid $20 a year for online registration and $25 annually for mail-in registration. Beginning in 2019, the GATE card fee will be $150 for three-year cards. He emphasized that all cards will be processed electronically, and indicated that mailed applications would be sent back to the applicants with instructions to register online.
Implementation of the three-year GATE card program will take three years. Black said the state’s 38,000 GATE card holders will be divided into thirds. One third will receive one-year GATE cards for a $50 fee. One third will initially receive two-year cards for a $100 fee and the final third will receive the three-year card for a $150 fee. GDA staff explained that the staggered implementation of three-year cards will be done alphabetically so the state receives balanced yearly revenue to fund the administrative costs of the GATE program. Renewals beginning in 2020 will be three-year cards for a $150 fee. The cards will be color-coded to indicate the registration/renewal year.
The cards will be associated with the cardholder’s social security number, tax ID number or business sales tax number to correlate with tax records. Black noted that this requirement is imposed by Georgia Department of Revenue regulations, though none of these numbers will appear on the GATE card.
Black said each cardholder would receive a wallet-sized card and a smaller card that will fit on a keyring.