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MARIETTA, GA -- March 1 was a busy day at tag offices around the state. Some locations actually were seeing twice the traffic they normally get.

The reason? The changes in paying the ad valorem title tax.

If you purchase a car starting March 1, either from a dealer or in a private sale, you'll need to pay the 6.5 percent title tax.

RELATED | New car title tax starts Friday, phases out birthday tax

"From here forward you will not pay the sales tax if you buy it from a dealer but you will pay the 6.5 percent ad valorem title tax," said Sharon Dorsey, Cobb County Tag Office director.

If you bought your vehicle over the past 14 months, you will have a choice. You can either pay the 6.5 percent ad valorem title tax once or keep paying the tax based on the current value of your vehicle every year on your birthday as you do right now.

Otha Sydnor said he was going topay the one-time fee.

"I got a statement on what I would be paying. I plan to own this car for at least 10 years. I am definitely saving some money by paying once. Just today it saved me over $200," said Sydnor.

After doing the match, Patrick Mayfield said he is opting out.

"I'd probably just stick with the ad valorem because I am not going to keep the car that long, maybefive years and it will come out cheaper if I kept the ad valorem," Mayfield said.

For owners who got their vehicles before January of last year, there is no change. The ad valorem is due to be paid on their birthday. But for owners who purchased vehicles out of state at any time, the option door is closed on making a choice.

"If out-of-state, you are not eligible to opt in. So they will come in and they will be part of the title ad valorem tax system, paying 6.5 percent," Dorsey said.

To figure out what you might owe in ad valorem, go to the online Georgia Department of Revenue calculator.

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