Macon money from motorists

Bankrate has issued a chart of Car-Ownership Costs By State, and at the Most Expensive end, inexplicably, is not some high-priced spread like New York (which placed second), but decidedly middle-American Georgia, with an annual cost figure of $4223, nearly $300 higher than the Vampire State. And the major contributing factor, apparently, is taxation, Georgia asking $1952 a year while New York settles for a mere $1809.

Something’s screwy here, and I think it’s this:

Motor vehicles purchased on or after March 1, 2013 and titled in this state are exempt from sales and use tax and annual ad valorem tax, also known as the “birthday tax”. These taxes are replaced by a one-time tax that is imposed on the fair market value of the vehicle called the title ad valorem tax fee (“TAVT”). The fair market value is the taxable base of the motor vehicle. The manner in which fair market value is determined depends on whether the motor vehicle is new or used.

Now would I be wrong in assuming that the TAVT is going to make up for several years’ worth of no-longer-assessed “birthday tax,” and that this distorts the Georgia figures for the first year? Bankrate is saying they got their numbers from Kelley Blue Book.

At the other extreme: Oregon, at $2204 a year, with notably low taxes. In the middle: Oklahoma, $3221 a year.

Maybe next year’s numbers will tell us something.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man. Note that his commenters are also suspicious of some of the conclusions.)

Update, 21 October: Steven Lang calls shenanigans.

1 comment

  1. McGehee »

    4 September 2013 · 8:15 am

    I would hope the Georgia legislature calculated some benefit from the time value of money and decided that a onetime assessment would be better for all concerned.

    I fear that they calculated that this new way of taxing vehicle ownership would bring in more money in the short term and to hell with the future.

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