City of Haleyville clarifies its business license code

HALEYVILLE - If you run a business on a regular basis in the City of Haleyville or the city’s police jurisdiction - in person or online - you must have a business license and collect sales tax
That is a fact the City of Haleyville is wanting to convey to residents and all those who are operating a business within the city limits or police jurisidiction.  The vast majority of businesses within the city limits and police jurisidction are following the guidelines correctly by purchasing business licenses and collecting sales tax, but there are some who are not.  
“We have received some questions about who is required to purchase a license and how to collect sales tax on sales,”  Haleyville Acting City Clerk Christy Harbin noted.  
To help explain who is required to have a business license and who is not, the city has put together a list of requirements, along with answers to frequently asked questions they receive on the topic.  Haleyville has adopted a business license code, which is in effect within the Haleyville City Limits and the police jurisdiction, which runs for 1.5 miles outside of the city limit in all directions.  Under Ordinance #2007-11, Section 1, as of Jan. 1, 2008, and each subsequent year, the city is levying and assessing, ”a business license fee for the privilege of doing any kind of business, trade, profession or other activity in the muncipality or the police jurisdiction, by whatever name called”.
This also applies to anyone selling merchandise through Facebook or another form of social media in the city or within the police jurisdiction, Harbin noted.
When it comes to yard sales, those who conduct a yard sale occasionally, such as once or twice a year, just to get rid of unwanted items are not required to have a business license.  On the other hand, those who are selling new or used items that are purchased or collected for resale on a regular basis must have a business license and must collect  and submit sales tax to the city.  
Those who purchase items to resale or are selling new and used items on a regular basis from their homes, online or in another location within the city limits or police jurisdiction fall under the definition of “peddler”, and need to purchase a retail license, with the license fee tallied based on the amount of gross sales they have.  Those annual license fees are as follows for those who conducting business within Haleyville’s city limits:
• up to $15,000 in gross receipts = $50;
• $15,001 - $29,999 in gross receipts = $75;
• $30,000 -$59,999 in gross receipts = $100;
• $60,000 -$100,000 in gross receipts = $150;
An additional $5 needs to be added for each additional $100,000 in gross receipts.
“The name you call the activity does not override the nature of what you are doing,”  Harbin said.  “Having an ongoing physical or internet presence where you are selling new and used items is “doing business” under the ordinance and subjects you to the requirements of the business license status and the tax ordinance.”
For those conducting regular business in person or online within Haleyville’s police jurisdiction, the annual business license fee is half the rate.
“The City of Haleyville is providing services within the police jurisidiction, and one way the services are paid for is through the payment of business license fees,”  Harbin said.
When it comes to collecting sales tax, Harbin said the best way to remember who is required to collect it is to remember this:  if you are required to have a business license, you must collect sales tax.
Under the ordinance, it is against the law to do business in Haleyville without a business license.  Section 6 of the ordinance reads that, “ It shall be unlawful for any person, taxpayer, or agent of a person or taxpayer to engage in businesses or vocations in the municipality for which a license is required without first having procured a license. A violation of this division of the ordinance passed hereunder fixing a license shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed the sum of $500 for each offense, and if a willful violation, by imprisonment, not to exceed six months, or both, at the discretion of the court trying the same. Each day shall constitute a separate offense.”
“It is important that the city treats everyone fairly and collects the taxes where due,”  Harbin said.  “The city’s goal is to have a level playing field for all business owners and professionals when it comes to doing business within the city limits and police jurisdiction.”
City officials hope this information is helpful.  Anyone who has any questions or needs further information can call Harbin at Haleyville City Hall at (205) 486-3121, ext. 7.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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