O.C.G.A. § 48-5-48.2

§ 48-5-48.2. Freeport exemption

 

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Destined for shipment to a final destination outside this state” includes that portion or percentage of an inventory of finished goods which the taxpayer can establish, through a historical sales or shipment analysis, either of which utilizes information from the preceding calendar year, or other reasonable, documented method, is reasonably anticipated to be shipped to a final destination outside this state. Such other reasonable, documented method may only be utilized in the case of a new business, in the case of a substantial change in scope of an existing business, or in other unusual situations where a historical sales or shipment analysis does not adequately reflect future anticipated shipments to a final destination outside this state. It is not necessary that the actual final destination be known as of January 1 in order to qualify for the exemption.

(2) “Finished goods” shall mean goods, wares, and merchandise of every character and kind but shall not include unrecovered, unextracted, or unsevered natural resources or raw materials or goods in the process of manufacture or production or the stock in trade of a retailer.

(3) “Raw materials” shall mean any material, whether crude or processed, that can be converted by manufacture, processing, or a combination thereof into a new and useful product but shall not include unrecovered, unextracted, or unsevered natural resources.

(4) “Stock in trade of a retailer” means finished goods held by one in the business of making sales of such goods at retail in this state, within the meaning of Chapter 8 of this title, when such goods are held or stored at a business location from which such retail sales are regularly made. Goods stored in a warehouse, dock, or wharf, including a warehouse or distribution center which is part of or adjoins a place of business from which retail sales are regularly made, shall not be considered stock in trade of a retailer to the extent that the taxpayer can establish, through a historical sales or shipment analysis, either of which utilizes information from the preceding calendar year, or other reasonable, documented method, the portion or percentage of such goods which is reasonably anticipated to be shipped outside this state for resale purposes.

 

(b) The governing authority of any county or municipality may, subject to the approval of the electors of such political subdivision, exempt from ad valorem taxation, including all such taxes levied for educational purposes and for state purposes, all or any combination of the following types of tangible personal property:

(1) Inventory of goods in the process of manufacture or production which shall include all partly finished goods and raw materials held for direct use or consumption in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacturing or production business in this state. The exemption provided for in this paragraph shall apply only to tangible personal property which is substantially modified, altered, or changed in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacturing, processing, or production operations in this state. For purposes of this paragraph, the cleaning, drying, pest control treatment, or segregation by grade of grain, peanuts or other oil seeds, or cotton shall constitute substantial modification in the course of processing or production operations. For purposes of this paragraph, remanufacture of aircraft engines or aircraft engine parts or components shall constitute manufacturing operations in this state. Remanufacture of aircraft engines or aircraft engine parts or components means the substantial overhauling or rebuilding of aircraft engines or aircraft engine parts or components;

(2) Inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced within this state in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacturing or production business when held by the original manufacturer or producer of such finished goods. The exemption provided for in this paragraph shall be for a period not exceeding 12 months from the date such property is produced or manufactured; or

(3) Inventory of finished goods which, on January 1, are stored in a warehouse, dock, or wharf, whether public or private, and which are destined for shipment to a final destination outside this state and inventory of finished goods which are shipped into this state from outside this state and stored for transshipment to a final destination outside this state. The exemption provided for in this paragraph shall be for a period not exceeding 12 months from the date such property is stored in this state. Such period shall be determined based on application of a first-in, first-out method of accounting for the inventory. The official books and records of the warehouse, dock, or wharf where such property is being stored shall contain a full, true, and accurate inventory of all such property, including the date of the receipt of the property, the date of the withdrawal of the property, the point of origin of the property, and the point of final destination of the same, if known. The official books and records of any such warehouse, dock, or wharf, whether public or private, pertaining to any such property for which a freeport exemption has been claimed shall be at all times open to the inspection of all taxing authorities of this state and of any political subdivision of this state.

 

(c) Whenever the governing authority of any county or municipality wishes to exempt such tangible property from ad valorem taxation, as provided in this Code section, the governing authority thereof shall notify the election superintendent of such political subdivision, and it shall be the duty of said election superintendent to issue the call for an election for the purpose of submitting to the electors of the political subdivision the question of whether such exemption shall be granted. The referendum ballot shall specify as separate questions the type or types of property as defined in this Code section which are being proposed to be exempted from taxation. The election superintendent shall issue the call and shall conduct the election on a date and in the manner authorized under Code Section 21-2-540.

 

(d) The governing authority of any county or municipality wherein an exemption has been approved by the voters as provided in this Code section may, by appropriate resolution, a copy of which shall be immediately transmitted to the state revenue commissioner, exempt from taxation 20 percent, 40 percent, 60 percent, 80 percent or all of the value of such tangible personal property as defined in this Code section; provided, however, that once an exemption has been granted, no reduction in the percent of the value of such property to be exempted may be made until and unless such exemption is revoked or repealed as provided in this Code section. An increase in the percent of the value of the property to be exempted may be accomplished by appropriate resolution of the governing authority of such county or municipality, and a copy thereof shall be immediately transmitted to the state revenue commissioner, provided that such increase shall be in increments of 20 percent, 40 percent, 60 percent, or 80 percent of the value of such tangible personal property as defined in this Code section, within the discretion of such governing authority.

 

(e) (1) If more than one-half of the votes cast on such question are in favor of such exemption, then such exemption may be granted by the governing authority commencing on the first day of any ensuing calendar year; otherwise such exemption may not be granted. This paragraph is intended to clearly provide that following approval of such exemption in such referendum, such exemption may be granted on the first day of any calendar year following the year in which such referendum was conducted. This paragraph shall not be construed to imply that the granting of such exemption could not previously be delayed to any such calendar year.

(2) Exemptions may only be revoked by a referendum election called and conducted as provided in this Code section, provided that the call for such referendum shall not be issued within five years from the date such exemptions were first granted and, if the results of said election are in favor of the revocation of such exemptions, then such revocation shall be effective only at the end of a five-year period from the date of such referendum.

 

(f) The commissioner shall by regulation adopt uniform procedures and forms for the use of local officials in the administration of this Code section.

 

HISTORY: Code 1981, § 48-5-48.2, enacted by Ga. L. 1984, p. 1058, § 4; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2482, § 2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 926, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 295, § 3; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1120, § 2.