t looked like early voting for the presidential election had started in parts of Cobb on Friday. Lines went out the door at the main tag office at 700 South Cobb Drive in Marietta.
But residents weren’t there to vote. They were waiting to register their vehicles on the first day the car tag portion of the 2012 Tax Reform Act went into effect in Cobb and the rest of Georgia.
While the lines were long, there were no problems reported to police dispatchers at the main tag office or the satellite locations at the East Cobb Government Service Center, Market Square Shopping Center on Canton Road, South Cobb Government Service Center in Austell or Cobb Fire Station No. 28 in Acworth, Cobb Police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce said.
Cobb Tax Commissioner Gail Downing has said that her office had been preparing for customer outrage in reaction to the new tax, in case customers were told that they can’t get a tag and are prevented from driving.
The annual ad valorem tax, known as the “birthday tax,” as well as sales tax, were no longer collected on new car purchases starting Friday. The taxes were replaced by a one-time title ad valorem tax, which starts this year at 6.5 percent of the vehicle’s fair market value. That would add up to $650 on a car valued at $10,000.
Purchases made in 2014 will be subject to a 6.75 percent tax, and the tax increases to 7 percent in 2015.
Those moving cars in from out of state and people buying cars from other individuals, known as “casual sales,” were expected to have the greatest sticker shock. Neither transaction had been taxed in Georgia before.
Downing said last week that extra staff was being added, including floor managers who work the lines, making sure that customers have needed paperwork and payments.