City of Savannah, Chatham County and State of Georgia Tax Exemptions

To learn more about local and state tax exemptions, contact SEDA today!

Local Property Tax Exemption

For certain manufacturers' capital improvements, the county portion of the tax may be exempted for five years. Application must be submitted to the Chatham County Board of Assessors between January 1 and April 1 of a given year.

County Inventory Tax Exemption

Chatham County currently exempts 100 percent of ad valorem property taxes for:
  • Manufacturing inventory/raw materials
  • Warehoused inventory of finished goods destined for shipment outside this state
  • Inventory of finished goods shipped here from outside the state and stored for transshipment to a final destination outside this state
Companies must apply for this exemption by April 1 of each year.

In 2014, Savannahians voted to remove the inventory tax from manufacturing within the City of Savannah. The goal of the inventory tax exemption is to be phased in at 20 percent increments each year, beginning in 2016.

Property Tax Fee and Abatements

For redevelopment of properties within greater downtown Savannah, property-tax freezes and/or abatements are available for eligible projects through the Savannah Development & Renewal Authority.

Computer Equipment Sales Tax Exemption

Computer equipment purchased or leased after Jan. 1, 2001 for use in a Georgia high-technology company, and exceeding the annual threshold of $15 million, will be exempt from sales and use tax. High-technology companies are specified as those with SIC 3674, 4812-4813, 4822, 7371-7379, 8711, or 8721-8733.
The term "computer equipment" means any individual terminal or organized assembly of hardware, including but not limited to:
  • Central processing units
  • Scanners
  • Printers
  • Electronic data storage devices
  • Memory chips
  • Data transmission equipment
  • Software products including operating systems and library and maintenance routines
  • Other related peripheral equipment

Pollution Equipment Tax Exemption

If a piece of new or replacement equipment has its primary purpose as air or water pollution control, you may receive both sales tax and property tax exemptions. First, the appropriate paperwork is submitted to the Department of Revenue for sales tax exemption approval. The Department's approval then qualifies a local property tax exemption for that equipment.

Primary Materials Handling Sales Tax Exemption

Purchases of equipment used directly for the handling and movement of tangible personal property in a new or expanding warehouse or distribution facility are exempt from sales and use tax. The facility or expansion must be worth $5 million or more and not used in direct retail sales.

Manufacturing Machinery Sales Tax Exemption

Machinery that is purchased or leased for direct use in manufacturing tangible personal property is exempt from sales and use tax when the machinery is:
  • Incorporated the first time into a new manufacturing plant located in Georgia.
  • Bought to replace or upgrade machinery in a manufacturing plant presently existing in Georgia.
  • Incorporated as additional machinery for the first time into a manufacturing plant presently existing in Georgia.
  • Incorporated into and used in the construction or operation of a clean room of Class 100 or less, provided that such clean room is used directly in the manufacture of tangible personal property (does not include the building or any permanent, non-removable component of the building that houses such clean room).
  • Incorporated into any telecommunications manufacturing facility and used for the primary purpose of improving air quality in advanced technology clean rooms of class 100 or less, provided such clean rooms are used directly in the manufacture of tangible personal property.
  • Additional exemptions are possible.

Foreign Merchandise in Transit Credit

Chatham County exempts goods from the county personal property taxes when warehoused in Chatham County and has entered the export stream although temporarily stored or warehoused in the county where the port of export is located or the property has been or will be moved by waterborne commerce through the Port of Savannah and U.S. customs duties will be or already paid at the Port of Savannah and the goods are in transit to a final destination outside Chatham County, which means there must be a contract of sale.

Economic Development Credit

The City of Savannah offers qualified businesses with offices within the incorporated limits of Savannah reduced Business Tax Certificate fees: 50 percent for year one, 30 percent for year two and 20 percent for year three. This incentive is in compliance with Article Y, Section 19 of the City of Savannah Revenue Ordinance.

Sales and Use Tax Exemption

Georgia helps companies lower their cost of doing business by offering the ability to purchase various types of goods and services tax free. These sales tax exemptions are defined in O.C.G.A. § 48-8-3 and several key exemptions are outlined in the table below.