Apollo Travel Svcs. v. Gwinnett County Bd. of Tax Assessors

In Apollo Travel Svcs. v. Gwinnett County Bd. of Tax Assessors, 230 Ga. App. 790, 791 (1) (498 SE2d 297) (1998), the taxpayer, Apollo, distributed computer software and hardware to its clients around the country for use in a computer travel reservation system. Apollo owned the computer hardware and leased it to its customers, 97 percent of whom were located outside of Georgia. Apollo stored such equipment at a warehouse in Gwinnett County and sought a freeport exemption for that inventory. On appeal, the Court upheld the denial of the exemption, finding that Apollo's inventory did not meet the definition of "inventory of finished goods" as contemplated by O.C.G.A. 48-5-48.2, because the computers were not "goods being held for shipment to final destinations outside Georgia for resale." Id. at 792. Noting that Apollo was holding this inventory "merely for shipment to its retail customers," the Court concluded that the computers were in the nature of Apollo's stock-in-trade and did not qualify for the freeport exemption. Id. A further refinement in the statute's fine print specifies that goods stored in or near a retail business in this state shall not be considered the "stock in trade of a retailer" when it can be established that they are to be shipped outside the state for resale. The taxpayer in Apollo was a retailer, and it could not fit its inventory of finished goods within the resale exemption to the "stock in trade of a retailer" exclusion from the definition of "finished goods."