Posted: March 2, 2011, 10:40 p.m. EST
Georgia residents who own guinea pigs and other pets might be subject to a new tax when they take their pet to the vet if several proposed bills become law.
Georgia pet owners could see their veterinary bills increase by an overall 7 or 8 percent due to taxation, if a proposed pet tax becomes law.
House Bills 385 to 388 all include language that will tax “veterinarian expenses for pets,” among other services. Although medications and supplies are already taxed, veterinary services are not.
The Georgia Veterinary Medical Association sent out a media alert today asking veterinarians and pet owners to contact their legislator and ask them to oppose any effort to impose a tax on veterinary services.
Veterinarians are the only health care group targeted, the GVMA pointed out.
“No other professionals are being targeted by this legislation,” GVMA said in its media alert. “Nor are any other health care professionals, who are also service providers, finding their practices threatened. Medical services have long been exempt from taxation at the state and federal level.”
Adding a sales tax to veterinary services may force owners to forego life-saving procedures and opt for economic euthanasia; have a substantial financial impact on responsible veterinary care of pets; and increase pet abandonment, according to GVMA.
This tax tactic has been attempted in other states — California, Maine, Michigan and Pennsylvania — but was rejected by legislators “as contrary to the best interests of citizens of those states,” according to GVMA.
Only three states — Hawaii, New Mexico and South Dakota — have ever taxed veterinary services, GVMA noted.
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Pet services, including, but not limited to, boarding, training and grooming, are also being targeted.
The bills also include language that will tax automotive maintenance, repair and equipment installation services; household services like trash pick up and septic cleaning; clothing services, such as shoe and jewelry repair; professional photography fees; and haircuts, styling, coloring and other related services; among others.
Click on the name of each bill to read it in its entirety.
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