Estate tax repeal approved by Georgia General Assembly

Rep. B.J. Pak, R-Lilburn

Rep. B.J. Pak, R-Lilburn

If the governor agrees, Georgia’s estate tax will be a thing of the past.

The Georgia Senate approved the repeal of the tax this week, carrying on a bill sponsored by House Rep. B.J. Pak, R-Lilburn, which passed in that chamber earlier this session.

“HB 658 is (intended) to eliminate, once and for all, the state’s estate tax off of our books. This tax was the only one portion of our tax code that can be revived if Congress rolls back its estate tax phaseout,” Pak said Wednesday.

“As a strong advocate for tax policy simplification and for lowering taxes for all Georgians, I believe uncoupling the state’s tax policy from the federal government’s is a step toward simplifying our tax code, and to eliminate or lower taxes,” he added.

The bill would end the tax, often referred to as the “death tax,” and any requirements for estate tax returns on July 1, 2014.

“The ‘death tax’ is one of the most disruptive and despised taxes. Georgia has spent years phasing out this tax, and HB 658 marks the final removal of this tax from our laws,” said Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton, who carried the bill in the Senate, where it passed by a vote of 42-8. “I hope this effort serves as an encouragement to our federal government in joining our state in refusing to tax the estates of citizens who have been taxed enough already in life.”

According to current law, any property or assets transferred to others due to a death is taxed on the fair market values of the item or property.

Officials noted that the proposal wouldnot affect tax, penalty, interest liabilities or refund eligibility for taxable years prior to the sunset date. Any previous administrative proceedings, civil actions, prosecutions or punishments will not be decreased or waived.

After passing both Chambers, the bill now transfers to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.