Change to tag fees could cause longer wait times, confusion - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Change to tag fees could cause longer wait times, confusion

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EVANS, GA (WFXG) -

Making a trip to the tag office usually takes a couple minutes.

"I was in and out in 20 minutes and there had to have been at least 40-50 people," said Kelly Stitzel.

But it looks like the wait time will be stretched.

"We're looking at waiting on three to four people per hour per registrar," said Columbia County Tax Commissioner Kay Allen.

Compare those numbers to their current rate of helping seven to eight people an hour. 

Allen says people can expect to wait longer starting March 1, because it will take time to switch people from the birthday tax program to the new program.  

If you bought a vehicle in Georgia since January 1, 2012, you now have the option of paying extra money up front to get your vehicle added to a new tax system where you won't have to pay the birthday tax.

"For us to calculate if you're going to be able to come into the program for free or if it's going to cost you to get into the program, you're going to need to provide for us a bill of sale, your contract, your driver's license, insurance information," Allen, said.  

Right now, Georgia car owners pay an annual 7% sales tax every year for the birthday tax. Under the new system, people will pay a 6.5% sales tax which will increase to 7% in two years.

"I like it, it's a balance," Stitzel, said.

But it's going to put a greater strain on the office and Allen says they're considering hiring more staff and changing their schedules so they'll be available to help people with their tag fees.

"We're concerned, but we're asking people to just put on their sweet smile and pleasant attitude when they come because it's going to be different than it ever has before around here," she said.

People who bought cars before January 1, 2012 will continue to pay the birthday tax every year for another 10 years, until all vehicles become a part of the new system.

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