Rep. Sam Watson (Photo: Georgia House)

Five Georgia lawmakers have filed legislation that seeks to carve out a tax exemption from all ad valorem taxes for 501(c)5 organizations on certain items that are used for eradicating boll weevils in Georgia.

501(c)5 organizations are laboragricultural or horticultural organizations as defined by the Internal Revenue Service and must work toward the “betterment of conditions of those engaged in the pursuits of labor, agriculture, or horticulture, the improvement of the grade of their products, and the development of a higher degree of efficiency in their respective occupations.”

State Representatives Sam Watson, Jay Powell, Tom McCall, Steven Meeks, and Clay Pirkle filed House Bill 104, which has been assigned to the House Ways & Means committee. The short bill amends OCGA 48-5-41 dealing with property exempt from taxation and already excludes church property, state property, nonprofit organization property, and cemeteries, among others.

The state currently outlines 15 exclusions from ad valorem taxes in code and HB 104 would add #16 to read:

“Traps, bait, lure, pesticides, or trapping supplies that are held in inventory by an organization that maintains exempt status under Section 501(c)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code to be used in this state for the purpose of eradicating boll weevils or preventing the reinfestation of eradicated areas.”  

The traps, bait, lure, pesticides, and trapping supplies would be free of sales tax if they are inventory of an organization that is a 501(c)5 agriculture or horticulture organization. Non-501(c)(5) organizations would still be required to assess sales tax.

If passed by the legislature, the initiative would then appear on the ballot for Georgia voters in the November 2020 election. Georgians would answer YES or NO to the following question:

Shall the Act be approved which provides an exemption from ad valorem
taxes on traps, bait, lure, pesticides, or trapping supplies that are held in
inventory by an organization that maintains exempt status under Section
501(c)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code to be used in this state for the
purpose of eradicating boll weevils or preventing the reinfestation of
eradicated areas?”

You can read the bill here.

HB 104_2019
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