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Georgia Clears Bill to Waive Sales Taxes on Tickets to Major Sporting Events

One of the last moves by the 2016 Georgia Legislature was passage of a bill to remove the sales tax on tickets to the Super Bowl or any other major sporting event hosted by the State. The exemption would apply to events held from 2017 through 2022. Governor Deal is expected to sign the bill.

Wrapped in with the popular state back-to-school sales tax holiday, House Bill 951 extends the sales tax break to tickets for all major sporting events, including any semifinal game or championship game of a national collegiate tournament, a Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, or National Basketball Association all-star game, or any other major sporting event. The event must be “nonrecurring”, which is defined as not occurring more than once every three years. In other words, the exemption does not apply to things like a regular Braves game.

Events will only qualify for the exemption if the State Commissioner of Economic Development and the State Revenue Commissioner determine that the event will generate at least $50 million in revenue in the host locality. The Commissioner will have to develop revenue projections based on expected revenues from lodging, meals, vehicle rentals, and admissions to tourist attractions. The State is expected to lose about $10 million in sales tax revenue by exempting sport tickets, which normally are subject to a 4% state-level sales tax. The idea is that other revenues from hosting the event will more than make up for the $10 million loss.

Atlanta is competing with four other cities for the 2019 or 2020 Super Bowl. Interestingly, the NFL requires the exemption in any city hoping to host the event. Two other competing states, Florida and Louisiana, have already passed an exemption.

Sales Tax Holiday, Energy-Efficient Home Appliances

House Bill No. 951 also sets the back-to-school sales tax holiday for July 30-31, 2016. Another provision allows a sales tax exemption for noncommercial purchases of Energy Star Qualified Products or WaterSense Products that cost up to $1,500, for items purchased between September 30 and October 2, 2016. Despite some vocal opposition to the sports ticket exemption, the Georgia Legislature ensured its passage by including it in with these other two popular consumer sales tax exemptions.

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