Proposed New Georgia Electronic Database for Satisfaction of Department of Revenue Liens

As part of the Georgia State Tax Execution Modernization Act, Georgia is implementing a new system that will modernize the process by which tax liens issued by the Department of Revenue are filed, recorded and searched. In order to do so, the Georgia Department of Revenue and the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority are introducing the SOLVED (Satisfaction of Liens Via Electronic Database) program. The Georgia Legislature passed House Bill 337 earlier this year and it was signed by the governor in May. The new law becomes effective on January 1, 2018, and the Department of Revenue is issuing regulations that will implement the processes and procedures for the new law. The implementation of these new rules will affect anyone involved in the transfer of real property in the state of Georgia: property owners, closing attorneys, title insurance professionals, real estate professionals, mortgage bankers and others seeking to determine the existence of Georgia tax liens.

The overarching purpose of the new law is to help the Department of Revenue hamper tax evasion by requiring a taxpayer to apply for a certificate of clearance, obtain an identification number, and include that identification number on the transfer tax form that must be filed with any deed recorded in the state. This will allow the Department of Revenue and the Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority to have an electronic database of state tax lien information, and a convenient process to certify that the taxpayer has no active tax liens. In addition, Georgia tax liens will now be attached statewide – this reduces the burden on the Department of Revenue, which currently has to file liens in each county in which the debtor may own property.

While there will be myriad benefits of the SOLVED program, including a modernized process of recording tax liens, an enhanced, centralized, online location for researching state tax liens in real time, and the statewide attachment of Georgia tax liens, some commentators are concerned with the possible negative effects of the SOLVED program. Applications will have to be submitted either through an online portal or via written, mailed-in request, both of which will require the taxpayer to have an email address. As such, Georgia citizens without internet access or those who are functionally illiterate will face difficulties in trying to record a deed. There is also concern that, because the SOLVED program will disregard applications that are incorrectly filled out, it could result in either unrecorded deeds or delayed recording of deeds.

The new SOLVED program will have a huge impact on all real estate transfers in the state of Georgia. If you wish for your voice to be heard on this issue, all comments must be received by the Department of Revenue no later than 10 a.m. EDT on September 21, 2017. Due to the time sensitivity, either email your comments to regcomments@dor.ga.gov or fax them to 404.417.2293, with the reference “Notice COMP 2017-001” on all comments.