Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are Delinquent Taxes Enough to Deny a Business License?

Delinquent business taxes have created a stir in Norfolk, where the city's treasurer has demanded that the commissioner of revenue stop issuing licenses to businesses that are behind on municipal taxes.

According to The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot, Treasurer Thomas Moss, Jr., said that businesses with delinquent business taxes are operating illegally and accused Commissioner of Revenue Sharon McDonald of not enforcing city and state codes. Moss added that his office would apply business license payments from such businesses to any delinquent taxes owed, rather than to the license renewal.

McDonald declined comment and called the issue "another Virginian-Pilot manufactured 'he said/she said' story designed to create the appearance of conflict when, in fact, none exists."

Norfolk's City Council passed an ordinance in September that said the commissioner of revenue should not issue business licenses until it receives verification from the treasurer's office that the applicant is current on all taxes. The other cities in South Hampton Roads (Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach) all have similar ordinances, as does the Virginia state code.

What do you think? Is this an appropriate use of government power?

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