City of Tallahassee to repeal business license tax

By: Mariel Carbone
July 14, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- More money back in the pockets of local business owners.

Tallahassee leaders voted Wednesday night to repeal the city's business license tax, and became the first city in the state to do so.

This comes at the request of the Chamber of Commerce. Chairman Kathy Bell told Eyewitness News that it's all about the growth of local business. She said it's an important gesture from the city and lets business owners know the community appreciates them.

"Our city commission, our commissioners, our mayor, also look at it as a privilege to have business here. And if there is something that we can do on the public sector side to contribute to that, and show you that we understand, your being here is creating jobs, growing your business, employing our residents, it's a significant contributor to the stability and growth of Tallahassee."

The business tax is on average $119 for local businesses and $303 for non-local businesses. It will affect about 12,000 businesses across the city, and save a total of nearly $2 million.

Business owners have mixed responses, but some say that having one less thing to worry about benefits their consumers.

"When you own a business, you have 90 million different things going on at any different day. And what you're trying to do is make sure the customer has the best experience because that's the life and blood of your business. Not making sure you have to be at city hall to pay another tax," said Matt Thompson, owner of Madison Social.

"It goes back to the community for sure because we're able to increase our stock levels by that amount; it comes off the overhead," said Michael Rachlin, owner of Head Over Heels.

Still, other businesses owners said the savings are minimal, and it won't really make much of a difference.

However, for companies that employ individual professionals, like doctors or lawyers, there will be a big impact. Those businesses must pay the tax for each one of the individual professionals.

An ordinance change is still required for this repeal to go through. It won't go into effect until the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

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