Starting Tuesday, Georgia farmers will need a special card to get their sales tax exemption on seed, fertilizer, and other so-called "farm inputs."
Until now, they’ve only had to fill out a form at the cash register attesting that they are eligible for the tax break.
The new system is necessary to cut down on paperwork and make sure the exemption only goes to real farmers, said agriculture commissioner Gary Black, "as opposed to someone just walking up to a vendor and saying ‘well yeah, I’ve got a few cows,' [...] when in fact they may be buying the seed and fertilizer just for their front lawn or something."
To be eligible for a card, growers have to sell at least $2,500 worth of product every year, or provide an equivalent value of processing services, such as peanut sorting or cotton ginning.
So far 15,000 farmers have signed up for the card — only a fraction of the people who will need one, Black said.
"We’re figuring 50,000 will likely sign up, but that’s not an exact science, so we’ll see what happens," he said.
There's a $20 sign-up fee and the process can be done entirely at the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s web site.