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Local sales tax is now eight percent

Operators of business and commercial enterprises within Grady County are reminded that on Oct. 1, the total sales tax for all applicable sales in the county is 8 percent, up from 7 percent. According to county officials, no official notice will be issued by the Georgia Department of Revenue, as some have said had been done in years past. It is up to local merchants and commercial enterprises to adjust the percentage and begin collecting the higher sales tax on all applicable sales.
This change was approved by voters in June with the passage of the Transportation Special Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) referendum.
However, the ballot language apparently did not comply with Georgia Department of Revenue regulations, according to Grady County finance director Holly Murkerson. Murkerson told The Messenger that even though the ballot stipulated the tax would commence on Sept. 1, 2020 and expire on Aug. 31, 2025 the Department of Revenue notified her that new taxes cannot be imposed until the beginning of a quarter. Likewise, Murkerson said state officials indicated to her the tax would expire on Sept. 30, 2025 and not Aug. 31, 2025 as stipulated on the ballot.
The change in effective dates has not previously been discussed by county officials publicly, but Murkerson confirmed she had become aware of the Oct. 1 start date since earlier this summer.
This is the first time the overall tax rate has increased in the county in many years, having consistently been 7 percent up until Oct. 1. A survey of several merchants prior to Oct. 1 indicated many had not made preparations to collect the additional one percent tax and had not been notified officially of the change.
Murkerson said the county had anticipated the state would notify all enterprises that collect and remit sales taxes to the state would be notified. A state official told Murkerson Sept. 30 that it was the responsibility of those collecting taxes to go to the Department of Revenue’s website to know the sales tax rate for the various jurisdictions in the state.
The TSPLOST is projected to generate approximately $15 million over five years that can only be used on transportation related projects in the county, Cairo and Whigham. The list of proposed projects includes work on Open Pond Road, Mizpah Church Road, Pine Park Road, Hadley Ferry Road Extension, Lower Hawthorne Road, Old Thomasville Road, South Broad Street in Cairo and others.

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