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Georgia refit tax cap passes, awaits governor’s signature

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By Dorie Cox

A bill to cap state sales taxes on yacht refits in Georgia passed the state’s General Assembly on Thursday. The bill was passed on the last day of the 2017 legislative session and awaits Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature.

If signed into law, the bill would cap state sales tax on parts and equipment during a refit worth $500,000. Florida legislators passed a similar measure two years ago, but its bill caps state sales tax on repairs worth $1 million. If Georgia’s proposed law passes, it would mean that refits half as large as those in Florida would benefit from a tax cap.

Thunderbolt Marine offers refit services in Savannah, Ga., and welcomes the bill, said Judy Salzman, project coordinator/administrator with the company.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be truly competitive,” Salzman said. “Anything that brings work our way is beneficial for the whole industry. This allows the refit industry to know that there are options for people that don’t want to take their boat to South Florida.”

Colonial Group is the parent company of Savannah Yacht Center in Savannah. Ryan Chandler, the company’s vice president of business development, said the company hopes for a more level playing field with yards in Florida.

“We’re encouraged by Georgia legislature’s passage of HB 125,” Chandler said. “We’re optimistic that Gov. Deal will sign it into law to set into motion the creation of 800 jobs for the state. We believe that Savannah has tremendous potential to enter the refit market to make a big splash.”

Under Georgia’s House Bill 125, any parts, engines or equipment above $500,000 that a boat owner spends to repair, retrofit or maintain a boat, would be exempt from Georgia sales taxes. The current Georgia sales tax rate ranges from 7 to 8 percent, depending on the county.

A sunset provision was added for the bill to be automatically repealed in 2025 without further action.

Click to see details on HB 125 from the Georgia General Assembly.

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About Dorie Cox

Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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