Rockdale’s Constitutional Corner: What can you do to make your emissions test a smooth process?

July 14, 20174min1370
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Written by Rockdale Tax Commissioner Tisa Smart Washington

While most car owners in Rockdale make sure their insurance is current when it’s time to renew their registration, some often forget to get their emissions test done before they arrive at the Tax Office to renew. With a little planning, residents can make the renewal process a smooth as possible.

Emissions tests are required every year in most counties in metro Atlanta, including Rockdale, and are valid for one year or one renewal. However, if you recently purchased a vehicle, you may not need to get one when it’s time to renew. Vehicles that are 3 model years old (for 2017 renewals, 2017, 2016 and 2015 models), do not require testing. Also, if you purchased a vehicle and an emissions test was performed prior to you owning it, you can use the test in the system as long as it has not expired.

For owners planning on being out of town or for vehicles that will be out of the area when it’s time to renew, emissions tests can be completed up to a year in advance. This can be especially helpful for individuals spending a considerable amount of time outside of the area or parents with college students taking the vehicle to school with them. Remember, emissions tests are good for one year or one renewal; once the test has been used to renew, it is no longer valid.

If your vehicle fails an emissions test, my office can issue a one-time 30-day extension to allow time to address the problem. Owners with vehicles on the birthday tax system must pay the taxes in order to receive the extension. For owners who have already paid the taxes up front and pay $20 to renew their registration each year, there is no fee for the extension.

In addition to the 30-day extension, there are waivers and exemptions available to owners as well. Seniors may qualify for a Senior Exemption; individuals working or going to school in another state may be eligible for an Out-of-Area Waiver; or individuals who own vehicles that will not pass a test after emissions-related repairs have been completed may receive a Repair Waiver. Visit for more information on extensions, waivers and exemptions.

A representative from Georgia’s Clean Air Force is in our office every Wednesday and Friday. If you have any questions about emissions tests, please stop by and we’d be happy to help you.

Throughout each month, Rockdale County’s constitutional officers— sheriff, clerk of courts, tax commissioner and probate judge—discuss topics relevant to their respective offices.

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