Dear editor:

Georgia Dept. of Audits, recently conducted (Oct. 2017)  a Georgia Ag. Tax Exemption (G. A. T. E.) audit for the period Nov. 2014 to April 2016.

 This audit on 42 cardholders chosen from the estimated 38,000 G.A.T.E. cardholders and businesses.

The G.A.T.E. program manager complains that the application process does not collect the relevant information needed to make eligibility determinations.

With an economic impact of ($300 million) in forgone state and local taxes revenue annually, management states, “The benefits of the exemption of have not been determined because (1) the purpose or intent of the exemption is not stated in the law, and (2) data necessary for determining the economic benefits of G.A.T.E. complied.

“Typically, tax preferences are put in place to increase jobs, encourage business growth or expansion, etc. Until the purpose(s) are known and data on relevant metrics become available, G.A.T.E. benefits cannot be fully evaluated.”

Recommendations of the Georgia Deaprtment of Agriculture should: improve G.A.T.E. applications and eligibility review; periodically re-evaluate cardholders eligibility, and allow Department  of Revenue to share G.A.T.E. related audits with The Department of Agriculture.

A thoughtful summary: Perhaps our Georgia Congress was all too anxious to satisfy their farm constituents demands for sales tax relief, their-in failing to produce a true legal document.

Agriculture producers and their legal affiliates, preachers and police should pay the prescribed sales taxes fairly and equally.

                         Tom Rogers

                         Moultrie, Ga.

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