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I changed my permanent residency from South Carolina to Georgia on 04/21/2020, as that was when I had a Georgia license issued. I've lived in Georgia in a leased apartment since then. My car, however, has remained unused in South Carolina since then, as I haven't required use of it since the pandemic started.

I now wish to register the car in Georgia, where the car is subject to a 1-time "ad valorem" tax. This tax is levied for all cars getting registered in Georgia. The tax law states that I am required to pay this tax within 30 days of obtaining residency in Georgia. Because I didn't register my car within 30 days of my residency change (because it sat unused in South Carolina), I am now subject to a ~$100 penalty for not paying the tax.

My question is, am I still subject to the tax penalty even if the car was not used in Georgia since I became a resident? It was logistically impossible for me to retrieve my car during the time period since I've been a resident. Technically, the car has only been in Georgia for 5 days, which is well under the 30 day time limit to pay the ad valorem tax.

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My question is, am I still subject to the tax penalty even if the car was not used in Georgia since I became a resident?

Yes.

It was logistically impossible for me to retrieve my car during the time period since I've been a resident. Technically, the car has only been in Georgia for 5 days, which is well under the 30 day time limit to pay the ad valorem tax.

Cars don't reside someplace, people do. Your personal property is defined to be located for many (but not all) legal purposes where the owner resides.

Just because the car wasn't in Georgia doesn't mean you didn't have the power to register it in Georgia.

In the same vein, if you wanted to take a loan out against your painting, which was hanging in a museum in New York City, and you resided in Georgia, the painting would be considered Georgia property for purposes of the laws relating to using personal property as collateral for loans (called Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code).

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