Georgia’s tax revenue is on the rise, albeit slowly.
According to a press release from Gov. Nathan Deal in early July 2018, the state’s net tax collection for June 2018 was $1.98 billion, an increase of 1 percent ($20.5 million) over June 2017’s net revenue of nearly $1.96 billion. For the full fiscal year, the increase amounted to 4.4 percent, or $961.3 million—going from almost $21.75 billion in the previous fiscal year to about $22.71 billion for FY2018.
Meanwhile, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision could impact these numbers even further. Because of the Court’s ruling in South Dakota vs. Wayfair, states can now collect sales taxes on online purchases, even if the seller isn’t located within state lines. Previously, the only way this tax was collected was if shoppers themselves kept track and paid the tax, but most didn’t. This was because of a 1992 law that specified states could not force businesses to collect sales taxes from shoppers in a state if the business had no physical presence in that state, However, in light of the vastly different retail landscape today, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that law.
For Georgia, this could mean an average of $572 million more a year in state tax revenue over the next five years, reported the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI). Online sellers who make at least $250,000 in sales or who do at least 200 individual sales per year in Georgia must either collect and remit the tax to the state or send tax due notices to customers who hit a $500 spending threshold on their website. And after the passage of House Bill 61 during the legislative session, Georgia will collect the tax revenue and distribute it between the state treasury and local governments.
In addition to the boosted tax revenue, this could also mean a more level playing field for in-state brick-and-mortar small business owners, who in the past had to compete with larger online retailers who could skirt taxes.