Georgia restores sales tax exemption for hearing aids

ATLANTA–A year after the Georgia State Legislature repealed legislation that had exempted hearing aids from sales tax, Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill that immediately reinstated the tax exemption. The new bill also applied to some other medical devices and medications.

Helping galvanize support for restoring the tax exemption for hearing aids was the Georgia Society of Hearing Professionals. The society, which is a chapter of the International Hearing Society (IHS), launched a campaign for House Bill 168 soon after a law was passed in 2010 that imposed a sales tax on hearing aids that went into effect on January 1, 2011.

Ralph Jackson, a board member and past president of the Georgia Society of Hearing Professionals, said, “This was an important victory for Georgia consumers, and we are extremely pleased with the outcome,” He added, “As a licensed hearing instrument specialist, I see patients every day who struggle to afford much-needed hearing aids. Passage of this bill will help with some of the burden of the cost and bring Georgia in line with the vast majority of other states in terms of hearing aid taxation.”

According to Alissa Parady, IHS’s government affairs manager, in only four states–Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas–are consumers taxed when they buy hearing aids. In addition, California taxes dispensers when they buy hearing aids from the manufacturer.