Georgia Sales Tax Guide for Businesses
- Sales Tax Rate
- Local Taxes
- Department of Revenue
- Tax Line
We wrote this guide for online sellers who want to know if they even have to bother with sales tax in Georgia, and if so, how best to tackle the sales tax situation in the Peach State.
After reading this, you’ll know:
- Do you or don’t you need to collect Georgia sales tax?
- Which customers do you collect from?
- How much do you collect?
- What do you do with all the sales tax you’ve collected?
- Way more than you probably ever wanted to know about Georgia sales tax!
Do you have sales tax nexus in Georgia?
Good news! You only have to begin thinking about Georgia sales tax if you have sales tax nexus in Georgia.
“Sales tax nexus” is just a fancy way of saying “significant presence” in a state.
Georgia considers a seller to have sales tax nexus in the state if you have any of the following in the state:
- An office or place of business
- An employee present
- Goods in a warehouse
- Ownership of real or personal property
- Delivery of merchandise in Georgia
- Independent contractors or other representatives in Georgia
You can click here to read exactly what the Georgia Department of Revenue (Georgia’s taxing authority) has to say about what constitutes sales tax nexus in Georgia.
Do you have sales tax nexus in Georgia if you sell on FBA?
Currently (2015), there are no fulfillment centers in Georgia, so you don’t need to worry about having nexus there if you sell on Amazon FBA. (Unless, of course, you have nexus in Georgia for other reasons.)
Read here for more about Amazon FBA and sales tax nexus.
Is what you’re selling even taxable?
You’ve probably read this far because you realized you have sales tax nexus in Georgia. Your next step is to determine if what you’re selling is even taxable.
Services in Georgia are generally not taxable. So if you’re a graphic designer or a plumber, you’re in luck and you don’t have to worry about sales tax.
Tangible products are taxable in Georgia , with a few exceptions. These exceptions include certain groceries, prescription medicine and medical devices, and machinery and chemicals used in research and development.
So if you sell toys, then charge sales tax to your Georgia customers.
But if you’re a graphic designer, don’t charge sales tax to your Georgia customers.
If you have sales tax nexus in Georgia and your products are taxable, your next step is to register for a sales tax permit.
How to Register for a Sales Tax Permit in Georgia
Sellers with sales tax nexus in Georgia must apply for a Georgia sales tax permit.
Don’t skip this step! Georgia considers it unlawful to collect sales tax in their name without a permit. Go here for more on how to register for a sales tax permit in Georgia.
How to Collect Sales Tax in Georgia
So you’ve determined that you have sales tax nexus in Georgia and what you’re selling is taxable. And you’re all set and registered for your Georgia sales tax permit(s).
The next step is to determine how much sales tax to collect.
For many states, the sales tax rate you collect depends on whether you are based in-state or out-of-state.
How to Collect Sales Tax in Georgia if You are Based in Georgia
Georgia is an destination-based sales tax state. So if you live in Georgia, collect sales tax based on the sales tax rate at your buyer’s address.
Example: You live and work in Woodstock, Georgia 30188 where the tax rate is 6%, but you ship to your customer in Atlanta with a zip code of 30303. Their tax rate in the 30303 zip code is 8%, so you would charge your customer the 8% tax rate.
How to Collect Sales Tax in Georgia if you are Not Based in Georgia
Georgia wants sellers who made a sale into Georgia from outside the state to also charge sales tax based on the destination of the buyer.
Example: You live in Chattanooga, Tennessee 37401 where the tax rate is 9.25%, but your customer lives in Rome, Georgia 30161 and their tax rate is 7%. You would charge the customer the 7% tax rate.
Remember, only sellers who have sales tax nexus in Georgia need to charge sales tax to buyers in Georgia.
Should you collect sales tax on shipping charges in Georgia?
The Department of Revenue had this to say on shipping taxability, “Where taxable tangible personal property is sold at retail and the seller makes a delivery charge, the charge is taxable regardless of whether the charge is optional (i.e., not required to complete the underlying sale of the tangible personal property) or separately stated.”
Therefore, you should collect tax on shipping charges if you are shipping a taxable item. it doesn’t matter if it’s separately stated or optional.
Read a full explanation of sales tax on shipping in Georgia here.
Caption: Georgia’s most populous cities and their sales tax rates
When are Georgia Sales Tax Returns Due?
Georgia sales tax returns are always due the 20th of the month following the reporting period. For example, if you are required to file and pay sales tax monthly in Georgia your April sales tax return would be due May 20th.
You’ll be assigned a sales tax filing frequency when you apply for your Georgia sales tax permit.
Georgia generally requires merchants to file sales tax monthly during their first six months of filing Georgia sales tax.
After that, if a seller’s sales tax liability is generally less than $200 per month, they can request to file and pay on a quarterly basis. If a seller sales tax liability is generally less than $50 per month, they can request to file annually.
For example, if you are required to file and pay sales tax monthly in Georgia your April sales tax return would be due May 20th.
To break it down:
2016 Georgia Monthly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates
|Taxable Period||Due Date|
|January||February 22, 2016*|
|February||March 21, 2016*|
|March||April 20, 2016|
|April||May 20, 2016|
|May||June 20, 2016|
|June||July 20, 2016|
|July||August 22, 2016*|
|August||September 20, 2016|
|September||October 20, 2016|
|October||November 21, 2016*|
|November||December 20, 2016|
|December||January 20, 2017|
*indicates a due date pushed back due to a weekend or holiday
2016 Georgia Quarterly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates
|Taxable Period||Due Date|
|Q1 (Jan - Mar)||April 20, 2016|
|Q2 (Apr - Jun)||July 20, 2016|
|Q3 (Jul - Sep)||October 20, 2016|
|Q4 (Oct - Dec)||January 20, 2017|
2016 Georgia Annual Sales Tax Filing Due Date
|Taxable Period||Due Date|
|Year 2016||January 20, 2017|
Click here for a chart of Georgia sales tax filing due dates in 2016.
How to File Sales Tax in Georgia
When it comes time to file sales tax in Georgia you must do three things:
- Calculate how much sales tax you owe
- File a sales tax return
- Make a payment
We’ll walk you through these steps.
How to Calculate How Much Sales Tax You Owe in Georgia
Calculating how much sales tax you should remit to the state of Georgia is easy with TaxJar’s Georgia state sales tax report.
All you do is connect the channels through which you sell – including Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Square and more – and we’ll calculate exactly how much sales tax you collected. All the information you need to file your Georgia sales tax return will be waiting for you in TaxJar. All you have to do is login!
How to File and Pay Sales Tax in Georgia
You have three options for filing and paying your Georgia sales tax:
- File online File online at the Georgia Department of Revenue. You can remit your payment through their online system.
- File by mail You can use Form ST-3 and file and pay through the mail.
Other Facts You Should Know about Georgia Sales Tax Filing
There are a few more things you should know about sales tax in Georgia:
- Late Filing Penalty: 5% of the tax due or $5, whichever is greater, for each tax type on the delinquent return for each month or fraction that the return is delinquent up to 25% or $25, whichever is greater.
- Late Payment Penalty: Interest: 1% per month or fractional part on any unpaid tax from the due date until paid in full.
Note: Sales tax returns in Georgia are considered timely filed if postmarked by the 20th of the month following the close of the reporting period. All returns filed after that date are subject to penalty.
Many states understand that collecting sales tax is a difficult burden on merchants, and will provide a discount to help alleviate some of this burden. In Georgia, entities paying sales tax on time can claim a discount of 3% of the first $3,000 dollars of tax due and then 0.5% of the excess amount.
Georgia Sales Tax Holidays
Georgia has 2 sales tax holidays in 2016:
July 3-31, 2016: Back to School Sales Tax Holiday Sept 30-Oct 2, 2016: Energy Efficiency Sales Tax Holidays
Check here for more information about Alabama’s sales tax holidays including how to handle sales tax holidays as an online seller.
And that’s it. You’ve mastered Georgia sales tax filing! Now that sales tax is out of the way, you can get back to what you do best – running your business.
Georgia Sales Tax Resources
For more about Georgia sales tax, check out the Georgia section of the TaxJar blog.