2019-01-09 / Front Page

New Laws: Online sales tax

The Hands-free Georgia Act, which went into effect in July prohibiting drivers from operate a cell phone — texting or talking — with fines from $50 to $150 caught Georgia motorists’ attention.

Another law which took effect Jan. 1 will grab the attention of another big block of Georgians — online shoppers.

With legislation passed last year, Georgia is among a number of states that is now enforcing sales tax laws on some out-of-state retailers. A 4% sales tax will be collected by retailers who make $250,000 or conduct 200 sales a year.

Legislators noted with online shopping becoming more popular, state and local governments are missing out on much needed revenue generated by the sales tax. By creating this new law, the state expects to see an additional $500 to $600 million a year.

Marsy’s Law

Marsy’s Law is an amendment (Amendment #4) to the state constitution that requires crime victims receive notifications before hearings in cases involving defendants accused of harming them.

The legislation passed both chambers in last year’s General Assembly and was approved by voters Nov. 6.

Media reports state the amendment is duplicative of state law already on the books.

The current process, however, differed from circuit to circuit. Under Marsy’s Law, if a victim feels as though their rights aren’t being respected, they can file a motion and have a court hearing scheduled so the complaints can be heard.

Prepaid 911 fees

Another law which went into effect Jan. 1 increases 911 fees on prepaid cellphones in Georgia from 75 cents to $1.50.

Other wireless and landline phone customers already pay a $1.50 fee on their monthly bills.

The fee will help fund equipment upgrades at 911 centers, such as the ability for the public to send text messages, photos and videos, according to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

The legislation also allows local governments to find out information about the accuracy of 911 fee collections. Prepaid phone 911 fees dropped by about $5 million from 2016 to 2017 because of a tax refund. Information about the refund was confidential under Georgia privacy laws.

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