Business-license fees could changePublished 1:04am Friday, March 29, 2013
By MIKE VOSS
Washington Daily News
Some of Washington smaller businesses could see their business-license fees decrease while some larger businesses could see their fees increase if a proposal unveiled Monday night during a City Council meeting is approved.
City Manager Josh Kay explained the proposal to the council during discussion of a working draft of the 2013-2014 city budget. “What we are trying to do is we’re trying to continue to provide a high level of service through our local government and also offer our smaller business an opportunity to keep their money,” Kay said in explaining the proposed changes.
The existing fee schedule for business licenses covers four categories: service establishment, retail merchant, manufacturing and wholesale merchant. The existing fee schedule is $50 for the first $25,000 in sales and 80 cents for each additional $1,000 in sales. The maximum fee is $1,500. The fee for each Internet sweepstakes machine is $250.
Some fees are set by North Carolina law, which also exempts some categories such as lawyers and doctors.
“There are a lot of enterprises that are exempt. Those are all set by North Carolina’s General Statutes. We can’t change those,” Kay said.
Under the proposed fee schedule, service establishments, retail merchants and wholesale merchants would pay $50 for up to $80,000 in annual sales. For a business that has $80,001 to $1 million in annual sales, the fee would be 35 cents for each $1,000 in sales. For a business that has $1,000,001 to $15 million in annual sales, the fee would be 70 cents for each $1,000 in sales. A business that has more than $15 million in annual sales would pay $1 for each $1,000 in sales.
The maximum any business would pay would be $20,000.
For a manufacturer, the fees for the other categories would apply, but with a maximum fee of $10,000. The fee for each Internet sweepstakes machine is $1,000.
Currently, a business with $250,000 in annual sales pays $190. If the proposal were approved, that business would pay $109.50.
Currently, a business with $1,000,001 in annual sales pays $640. If the new fee schedule were imposed, that business would pay $372.
Currently, a business with $5,000,001 in annual sales pays $1,500. If the proposal were approved, that business would pay $3,172.
Currently, a business with $35 million in annual sales pays $1,500. If the new fee schedule were implemented, it would pay $20,000.
“I think you’re going to find that when you look at the numbers, I suspect that 40 or 50 percent of the people who have privilege licenses at the present time are going to find a reduction,” Councilman Doug Mercer said.