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Is Your Business in Tax Compliance?

By Michelle E. Botwinick
Everyone complains about income taxes. But if you’re a business owner, you need to be aware of filing and payment obligations you have to taxing authorities other than the Internal Revenue Service.
Every business that owns personal property is required to file a personal property tax return annually with the county in which it is located. Personal property consists of furniture, equipment, computers, tools, and inventory. Personal property does not include land, land improvements, or vehicles which are taxed separately. The personal property tax is assessed based on the value of the property at the end of each year. The due date of the return depends on the county, but is usually March 1 or April 1.
Businesses are also required to hold licenses from the city or county (if in an unincorporated area) in which they operate. Many home-based businesses have flown “under the radar” in the past, but many municipalities have stepped up monitoring activity in this area with the aim of revenue collection. The City of Atlanta, for instance, often sends agents door-to-door asking businesses to produce a copy of their current license, and the fines for non-filing can be onerous. Business license fees are assessed based on the type of business, annual gross receipts, and number of employees for the prior year. The due date of the return depends on the municipality but is usually February 1 or February 15.
The Georgia Secretary of State also requires that every corporation, partnership and limited liability company register annually in order to update its officers, registered agent and mailing address. The fee is $50 and is due by April 1. The current information on file for any registered company in Georgia can be accessed through the public records on the Secretary of State’s website.
Finally, a business may have obligations for payroll taxes and sales taxes, depending on the type of business entity and what services or products are sold. For more information on compliance, you can research your specific municipality online or contact your tax professional for assistance.

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