(a) All foreign, alien, and domestic insurance companies doing business in this state shall pay a tax of 2 1/4 percent upon the gross direct premiums received by them on and after July 1, 1955. The tax shall be levied upon persons, property, or risks in Georgia, from January 1 to December 31, both inclusive, of each year without regard to business ceded to or assumed from other companies. The tax shall be imposed upon gross premiums received from direct writings without any deductions allowed for premium abatements of any kind or character or for reinsurance or for cash surrender values paid, or for losses or expenses of any kind; provided, however, deductions shall be allowed for premiums returned on change of rate or canceled policies; provided, further, that deductions may be permitted for return premiums or assessments, including all policy dividends, refunds, or other similar returns paid or credited to policyholders and not reapplied as premium for additional or extended life insurance. The term "gross direct premiums" shall not include annuity considerations.
(b) For purposes of this chapter, annuity considerations received by nonprofit corporations licensed to do business in this state issuing annuities to fund retirement benefits for teachers and staff personnel of private secondary schools and colleges and universities shall not be considered gross direct premium.