Are All Businesses Paying Required Taxes?

After a tip into the News
Channel 6 newsroom that some Columbia County lawyers were not paying their
occupational tax.

All of the firms we looked
at today did pay the tax, but some lawyers admit it would be easy to forget,
especially if a lawyer is just starting a new practice.

Local attorney, Kirk
Gilliard says, they don't tell you anything like that when you're in law school
or practicing for the bar. They don't say hey I'm opening an independent
business and I have to have a license to practice in this county, in addition
to being admitted to the bar in the state of Georgia.”

Lawyers say they study and
practice the law for a living, but may still make mistakes. In reality, some
may be breaking the law themselves by not paying the business tax.

One issue may be lawyers
who transfer from one county to another. Each county sets its own occupational
tax that must be paid once a year.

Columbia County Code
Enforcement Manager, Dana Rhodes says, “Anyone who provides a service for a fee
is required to have an occupational tax.”

Columbia County Code
Enforcement manager Dana Rhodes says she hasn't heard of lawyers not paying the
tax– however her office will do a random check to make sure no one is breaking
the law.

Code Enforcement regularly
receives tips from the sheriff's office and competitive businesses that make
catching those who don't pay their tax a little bit easier.

Dana Rhodes explains, “We
run a list, whether it's from the tax accessor's office, really any department
in the county.”

Rhodes says the code enforcement
office is willing to work with business owners, even handing out warnings
before filing any charges.  She says if a
business becomes a problem, her office can place a lien on the business

Rhodes says the bottom
line? Visit their office if you're confused or have questions. Most taxes can
be paid and taken care of in less than 30 minutes.  She says asking questions could prevent major
fines, court time and embarrassment down the road. Click here for more


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