County business license fees: due and payable

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 8, 2003

The Pike County Commission does not have a business license inspector to collect fees payable to the county and the state but that doesn't mean they aren't due.

So, a state license inspector has been operating in the county for the past couple of weeks and some business owners have questions and concerns about his presence.

Probate Judge Bill Stone said the business license inspector is from the State Department of Revenue and his business in Pike County is perfectly legitimate.

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&uot;Because we don't have a business license inspector in Pike County, we depend on all new businesses to come in and purchase a license,&uot; Stone said. &uot;Once a business purchases a license, we then have a record of that business and send them a reminded each year. County business licenses are due in October 1 and delinquent after Oct. 31. The state participates in this license and how much of the fee the state receives depends on the type of license. Some of the license fees are distributed on at 50-50 basis. For others the state could get a higher percentage.&uot;

Stone said most service businesses are exempt from the county license and there is a third state regulatory license for trades that require certification.

There is a combination of licensing going on in the state, counties and municipalities, Stone said.

The State Department of Revenue often sends a business license inspector to counties that don't have a business license inspector.

&uot;These license inspectors will come to various counties and they come unannounced,&uot; Stone said. &uot;I don't how extensively this inspector is actually covering the county, but he has made the comment that he is going door-to-door. So, I would suggest to any business owner who is operating without a county license that they come to the courthouse and purchase a license.&uot;

Stone said the business license inspector will usually give the business owner a written citation and instruct him or her to go to the courthouse and buy a license.

&uot;They can also be required to pay a penalty fee in addition to the license fee,&uot; Stone said. &uot;I'm not sure that every business owner who operates a business within the city limits realizes that he or she must also have a county license.&uot;

&uot;A owner of a new business might not know they are required to have a county license, especially if their business is within the city limits,&uot; he said. &uot;Some owners may have failed to remember.

Right now, we are reminding all business owners to contact the probate office if they are uncertain as to whether they should have a license or not.&uot;

Stone said the Pike County Commission has discussed whether hiring a business license inspector would be cost effective.

From time to time, county officials across the state have begged the state to update the business license code.

&uot;Some of the business license codes have been on the books for decades,&uot; Stone said. &uot;Some of them still refer to buggies and wagons. That's an indicator of how much the code needs to be cleaned up.&uot;

Stone said the county issues about 700 business licenses each year.

&uot;Now that we have automated our business licensing that should add efficiency to what we are doing,&uot; he said. &uot;Prior to that, the licensing was done manually and there was no way to keep up.&uot;