To All Interested Persons and Parties:
Pursuant to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, O.C.G.A. § 48-8-3.3, notice is hereby given that the Georgia Department of Agriculture will be accepting written comments regarding the adoption of Chapter 40-29-1, relating to the Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption or GATE Program. Rules contained within this chapter will define necessary terminology, describe application requirements, explain the renewal process, and clarify when a certificate may be denied or revoked. The Department will be accepting written comments from September 26, 2012, to close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on October 26, 2012.
Synopsis, Main Features, and Differences:
The Department is proposing to adopt Departmental Rule 40-29-1-.01 entitled “Definitions,” which defines certain language used throughout the Chapter, including agricultural product, Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption Certificate, Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption Advisory Board, Commissioner, Department, Equine species, and “on farm.”
The Department is also proposing to adopt Rule 40-29-1-.02, “Application for Authorization to Use the Agriculture Tax Exemption Certificate.” This rule requires any person desiring to utilize the certificate to make application to the Department for approval. The rule would provide that the tax exemption certificate may only be used by certified qualified agriculture producers, which is defined in Rule 40-29-1-.01. This rule requires that certain information be disclosed in order to be eligible and certain forms provided evidencing proof of eligibility. Further, the application is to be made in writing or online on a form prescribed by the Department and available at www.agr.georgia.gov. The rule would require a $20.00 fee for certificates purchased online and a $25.00 fee for written applications. This rule also describes how to pay, how to obtain the certificate, how to obtain additional certificates, and the restrictions associated with the use of the certificate once approved.
Rule 40-29-1-.03, entitled “Renewal Process,” requires an annual renewal (online or by written application) and specifies the time frame and procedure for renewal, renewal payment amount for online and written applications, payment method, and delivery of the certificate. Failure to renew will cause the certificate to be deactivated with no tax exemption availability.
The Department is further proposing to adopt Rule 40-29-1-.04, entitled “Denial of Certification for the Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption Certificate.” This rule would allow the Commissioner or his designee to make a determination of ineligibility and sets forth criteria considered in making such determination. This rule also provides a method for appealing a denial.
Lastly, the Department is proposing the adoption of Rule 40-29-1-.05, “Revocation of Certificate,” which explains that a certificate may be revoked at any time if it is misused or the owner fails to operate as a Qualified Agriculture Producer. ‘Misuse’ is further clarified and evidence of such misuse may be presented to the Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption Advisory Board or the Georgia Department of Revenue for investigation. This rule provides for the forwarding of information to the Georgia Department of Revenue for review, audit and possible prosecution of violators as provided by law.
Comment Period and Additional Information:
The Department will be accepting written comments from September 26, 2012, to close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on October 26, 2012. Written comments shall be considered on October 29, 2012. Please submit written comments to:
Dr. James Sutton, Director of Administration
Georgia Department of Agriculture
19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Telephone Number: 404-656-3600
FAX Number: 404-232-1547