Chapter 8 – BUSINESSES AND BUSINESS REGULATIONS
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State Law reference— Authority to levy a business license tax on gross income, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-7-30; governing body may impose or increase business license tax, S.C. Code 1976, § 6-1-315. (Back)
ARTICLE I. – IN GENERAL
Sec. 8-1. – License required.
Every person engaged or intending to engage in any calling, business, occupation, or profession within the town limits of the town is required to pay an annual license fee and obtain a business license as herein provided.
(Code 1994, § 4-301)
Sec. 8-2. – Definitions.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Business means a calling, occupation, profession, or activity engaged in with the object of gain or advantage, either directly or indirectly. A charitable organization shall be deemed a business, unless the entire proceeds of its operation are devoted to charitable purposes.
(1) Charitable purpose means any purpose described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or any benevolent, philanthropic, patriotic, or eleemosynary purpose which does not result in personal gain to a sponsor, organizer, officer, director, trustee or person with ultimate control of the organization. A charitable organization shall be deemed a business subject to a license tax unless the entire net proceeds of its operation, after necessary expenses, are devoted to charitable purposes. Compensation in any form to a sponsor, organizer, officer, director, trustee or person with ultimate control of the organization shall not be deemed a necessary expense of operation.
(2) Charitable organization means an organization that is determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be exempt from Federal income taxes under 26 USC 501(c)(3), (4), (6), (7), (8), (10) or (19).
(3) Classification means that division of businesses by major groups subject to the same license rate as determined by a calculated index of ability to pay based on national averages, benefits, equalization of tax burden, relationships of services, or other basis deemed appropriate by the council.
Gross income means the local revenue of a business received or accrued, for one calendar year, collected or to be collected by a business within the town excepting therefrom income from interstate commerce and business done wholly outside the town on which a license tax is paid to some other municipality. The gross income for business license purposes shall conform to the gross income reported to the Internal Revenue Service, as defined by section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code for income tax purposes, or the state insurance commission, without deductions. In the case of brokers or agents, the term “gross income” shall mean gross commissions retained, unless otherwise specified. Gross income for insurance companies means gross premiums collected. Gross income for business license tax purposes shall not include taxes collected for a governmental entity, escrow funds, or funds which are the property of a third party. The value of bartered goods or trade-in merchandise shall be included in gross income. The gross income for business license purposes may be verified by inspection of returns and reports filed with the internal revenue service, the state department of revenue, the state insurance commission, or other government agency.
Person means any individual, firm, partnership, LLP, LLC, cooperative nonprofit membership, corporation, joint venture, association, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, syndicate, holding company, or other group or combination acting as a unit, in the singular or plural and the agent or employee having charge or control of a business in the absence of its principals.
(Code 1994, § 4-302)
Sec. 8-3. – Purpose and duration.
The business license levied by this chapter is for the purpose of providing such regulation as may be required by the business subject thereto and for the purpose of raising revenue for the general fund through a privilege tax. Each license shall be issued for one calendar year effective the date of issuance and to expire on December 31 of the following year. The provisions of this chapter and the rate herein shall remain in effect from year to year as amended by the town council.
(Code 1994, § 4-303)
Sec. 8-4. – Rate classification and license fee.
(a) Rates. The business license fee for each class of business shall be computed in accordance with the following rate:
Class Rate 0—$2,000.00 Rate per thousand
1 30 1.00
2 30 1.00
3 30 1.50
4 30 1.80
5 30 2.00
6 30 2.30
7 30 2.50
8 30 2.50
(b) Miscellaneous fees.
$25.00 Sign permit, peddler permit
10.00 Yard sale (limited to three per year)
(c) Amusement machines, coin operated. Not included in gross amount of income of business where located or not owned by the business where located (not to be pro-rated), $25.00 per machine. These fees are in addition to the regular license fee at the primary rate for each classification.
(d) Contractors. The total fee for the amount of the contract shall be paid prior to the commencement of work and shall entitle the contractor to complete the job without regard to the normal expiration date. Each contractor shall post a sign in plain view on each job identifying the contractor with the job and shall furnish the town administrator with a list of all subcontractors.
(e) Alphabetical business classification index. This index is not intended to be a complete listing of all types of businesses. This listing shall serve as a guide in finding classifications by common name and reference to the standard industrial classification manual group number. All businesses not exempt by law which are in the major groups listed under each rate class are subject to a license tax whether found in the alphabetical index or not. The license inspector shall determine the proper classification of a business not listed.
Name Code Class
Accounting and booking service 8721 7
Administrative office 7389 7
Advertising agencies or agents 7311 7
Air conditioning contractor 1711 8
Air conditioning service and repair 7623 7
Alterations, clothing 7219 6
Amusement and recreation services 7999 2
Amusement machines, coin operated 7993 8
Animal hospital 0742 3
Answering service 7399 7
Antenna installation 1799 8
Antenna system (satellite master) 4841 2
Appraisers, real estate 6531 7
Artists 8999 7
Attorneys 8111 7
Auction houses 5999 2
Automobile body and paint shop 7535 3
Automobile detailers 7542 3
Automobile repairs and service 7538 3
Automobile towing service 7549 3
Bakery—Wholesale or retail 5461 2
Ballroom—Leased or rented 7911 2
Barber shops 7241 6
Beauty shop 7213 6
Bed and breakfast inns 7011 2
Beepers 4812 2
Billboards (lease) 7312 7
Building construction (contractors) 1541 8
Burglar alarms, installation only 1731 8
Burglar alarms, sales and installation 7382 7
Bus charter 4141 7
Cabinet shop, custom order 5712 3
Candy, wholesale and retail 5441 1
Carnivals 7999 8
Caterers 5812 1
Chiropractors 8041 7
Contractors * subcontractors 1700 8
Consultant, business 8748 7
Clothing, wholesale and retail 5651 2
Day care, adult and handicapped 8322 2
Day care, child 8351 2
Delicatessen 5411 1
Dog kennels and/or grooming 0752 3
Dressmakers for retail trade 5699 2
Drug store 5912 2
Dry cleaning retail or agents 7212 6
Dry cleaning, coin-operated 7215 6
Dirt moving 1794 8
Electric power company 4900 8
Electrical contractors 1731 8
Exterminators 7342 7
Farm and industrial machinery 5080 3
Fertilizer factory 2874 6
Finance company 6141 6
Fireworks, retail (+$50.00 state license) 5999 2
Fireworks, wholesale 5092 3
Fish and seafood, wholesale and retail 5421 2
Fisheries 6912 5
Flooring contractor 1752 5
Florist, wholesale and retail 5193 2
Furniture repair, refinishing 7841 7
Garbage service collection and disposal 8999 8
Garment pressing, alteration 7212 6
Gas, natural gas company 4900 8
Gasoline service station 5541 1
Gift shop 5947 2
Hardware, wholesale and retail 5072 3
Heating contractor 1711 8
House mover/wrecker 1799 8
Interior decorator 7389 7
Insurance solicitors 6411 7
Janitor or housekeeping service 7249 7
Kennels 0759 3
Landfills 4953 4
Landscape service 0781 3
Locksmiths 7699 7
Machine shop 3599 3
Meat processing 2013 1
Meat market 5421 1
Medical and health services (physicians) 8000 7
Miscellaneous business service not listed 8999 7
Mobil home parks 6515 7
Motion picture films, agents 7829 3
Natatorium or swimming pools 7999 2
Oil, fuel only wholesale 5048 3
Osteopathic, physicians and clinics 8031 7
Peanut and popcorn stands 5441 1
Pet shop 5999 2
Plumbing contractor 1711 8
Produce, wholesale and retail 5141 2
Pumps, wholesale and retail 5084 3
Radio and TV repairs 7622 7
Radio and TV stations 4832 2
Sales office 7389 7
Security and guard services 7381 7
Shipyards 3131 2
Tax service 7291 6
Taxidermist 7699 7
Tree surgery 0783 3
Uniform supply service 7213 6
Veterinarian 0742 3
Videotape rental 7841 3
Warehouse and storage 4225 3
Weather striping dealers 5211 2
Wrecking, building 1795 8
(Code 1994, § 4-304; Ord. No. 96A, exh. A, 11-25-1996; Ord. No. 2004-10, § 1, 12-6-2004)
Sec. 8-5. – Registration required.
The owner, agent or legal representative of every business subject to this chapter shall register the business and make application for a business license on or before January 1 of each year, except a new business shall be required to have a business license prior to operation within the town. Application shall be on a form provided by the town clerk, which shall contain the social security number or the federal employers identification number and all the information about the applicant and the business deemed necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter by the town clerk. The applicant shall certify that the information given in the application is true and that the gross income is accurately reported, or estimated for a new business, without any unauthorized deductions.
(Code 1994, § 4-305)
Sec. 8-6. – Deductions and exemptions.
No deduction from gross income shall be made. No person shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter by reason of the lack of an established place of business within the town, unless exempted by state or federal law. No person shall be exempt from this chapter by reason of the payment of any other tax, unless exempted by state law, and no person shall be relieved of the liability for the payment of any other tax by reason of the application of this chapter.
(Code 1994, § 4-306)
Sec. 8-7. – False application unlawful.
It shall be unlawful for any person subject to the provisions of this chapter to make false application for a business license, or to give or file, or direct the giving or filing of any false information with respect to the license or fee required by this chapter.
(Code 1994, § 4-307)
Sec. 8-8. – Display and transfer.
All persons shall display the license issued to them by the town clerk, in a conspicuous place, in the business establishment, at the address shown on the license. A transient or nonresident shall carry the license upon his person or in a vehicle used in the business, readily available for inspection by an authorized agent of the town. A change of address must be reported to the town clerk within ten days after removal of the business to a new location and the license will be valid at the new address upon written notification of the town clerk. Failure to obtain the approval of the town clerk for a change of address shall invalidate the license and subject the licensee to prosecution for doing business without a license. A business license shall not be transferable and a transfer of ownership shall be considered a termination of the old business and the establishment of a new business requiring a new business license based on the old business income.
(Code 1994, § 4-308)
Sec. 8-9. – Administration of the chapter.
The town clerk, under the direction of the mayor shall administer the provisions of this chapter, collect license fees, issue licenses, make or initiate investigations and audits to ensure compliance, initiate denial or revocation procedures, report violations to the proper authorities and assist in prosecution of violators, produce forms, make reasonable regulations relating to the administration of this chapter and perform such other duties as may be assigned.
(Code 1994, § 4-309)
Sec. 8-10. – Delinquent license fees.
For non-payment of all or any part of the correct license fee, the town clerk shall levy a late penalty of ten percent of the unpaid fee for each month or portion thereof, after the due date, until paid. If any license shall remain unpaid for 60 days after its due date, the town clerk shall issue an execution which shall constitute a lien upon the property of the licensee for the tax penalties and costs of collection and he shall proceed to collect in the same manner as prescribed by law for the collection of other taxes.
(Code 1994, § 4-310)
Sec. 8-11. – Notices.
The town clerk shall be required to serve or mail written notices by December 1 of each year, that the license fees are due or shall publish a notice of the due date in a newspaper of general circulation within the town, two times during the month of December in each year.
(Code 1994, § 4-311)
Sec. 8-12. – Denial of licenses.
The town clerk shall deny a license to an applicant when the license application is incomplete, contains a misrepresentation, false or misleading statement, evasion or suppression of a material fact, or when the activity for which a license is sought is unlawful or constitutes a public nuisance.
(Code 1994, § 4-312)
Sec. 8-13. – Suspension or revocation of license.
When the mayor and town council determines that:
(1) A license has been mistakenly or improperly issued or issued contrary to law;
(2) A licensee has breached any condition upon which his license was issued or has failed to comply with the provisions of this chapter;
(3) A licensee has obtained a license through fraud, misrepresentation, a false or misleading statement, evasion or suppression of a material fact in the license application;
(4) A licensee has been convicted of an offense under a law or ordinance regulating a business, a crime involving moral turpitude, or an unlawful sale of merchandise or prohibited goods; or
(5) A licensee has engaged in an unlawful activity or nuisance related to the business.
The mayor and town council will direct the town clerk to give written notice to the licensee or the person in control of the business within the town by personal service of registered mail that the license is suspended pending a hearing before the town council for the purpose of determining whether the license shall be revoked. The notice will state the time and place at which the hearing is to be held, which shall be within 30 days of the service of the notice. The notice shall contain a brief statement of the reasons for suspension and proposed revocation and a copy of the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(Code 1994, § 4-313)
Sec. 8-14. – Fire and casualty; non-admitted.
On gross premiums collected on policies of companies not licensed in the state, the broker shall collect and remit annually to the municipal association of the state, with a copy of the report required by the insurance commission showing the location of the risks insured (two percent of gross premiums).
(Code 1994, § 4-316)
Sec. 8-15. – Insurance companies and brokers.
(a) SIC Code 63 or NAICS Code 5241 insurance companies. Except as to fire insurance, the term “gross premiums” means gross premiums written for policies for property or a risk located within the municipality. In addition, “gross premiums” shall include premiums written for policies that are sold, solicited, negotiated, taken, transmitted, received, delivered, applied for, produced or serviced by:
(1) The insurance company’s office located in the municipality;
(2) The insurance company’s employee conducting business within the municipality; or
(3) The office of the insurance company’s licensed or appointed producer (agent) conducting business within the municipality, regardless of where the property or risk is located, provided no tax has been paid to another municipality in which the property or risk is located based on the same premium.
(b) Solicitation for insurance, receiving or transmitting an application or policy, examination of a risk, collection or transmitting of a premium, adjusting a claim, delivering a benefit, or doing any act in connection with a policy or claim shall constitute conducting business within the municipality, regardless of whether or not an office is maintained in the municipality.
(c) As to fire insurance, the term “gross premiums” means gross premiums collected in the municipality, and/or realized from risks located within the limits of the municipality.
(d) Gross premiums shall include all business conducted in the prior calendar year.
(e) Gross premiums shall include new and renewal business without deductions for any dividend, credit, return premiums or deposit.
(f) Declining rates shall not apply.
631-632 52411 Life, Health and Accident 0.75% of Gross Premiums
633-635 524126 Fire and Casualty 2% of Gross Premiums
636 524127 Title Insurance 2% of Gross Premiums
(g) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, license taxes for insurance companies shall be payable on or before May 31 in each year without penalty. The penalty for delinquent payments shall be five percent of the tax due per month, or portion thereof, after the due date until paid.
(h) Any exemptions in the business license ordinance for income from business in interstate commerce are hereby repealed. Gross income from interstate commerce shall be included in the gross income for every business subject to a business license tax
(i) Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §§ 38-45-10 and 38-45-60, the municipal association of the state is designated the municipal agent for purposes of administration of the municipal broker’s premium tax. The agreement with the association for administration and collection of current and delinquent license taxes from insurance companies as authorized by S.C. Code 1976, § 5-7-300 and administration of the municipal broker’s premium tax is approved, and the mayor is authorized to execute it.
(Ord. No. 2012-03, §§ 1—4, 11-26-2012)
Secs. 8-16—8-33. – Reserved.
ARTICLE II. – RETAIL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES
Sec. 8-34. – Retail telecommunications services license tax.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of the business license ordinance, the business license tax for “retail telecommunications services,” as defined in S.C. Code 1976, § 58-9-2200, shall be at the maximum rate authorized by S.C. Code 1976, § 58-9-2220, as it now provides or as provided by its amendment. The business license tax year shall begin on January 1 of each year. The rate for the 2005 business license tax year shall be the maximum rate allowed by state law as in effect on February 1, 2005. Declining rates shall not apply.
(b) In conformity with S.C. Code 1976, § 58-9-2220, the business license tax for “retail telecommunications services” shall apply to the gross income derived from the sale of retail telecommunications services for the preceding calendar or fiscal year which either originate or terminate in the municipality and which are charged to a service address within the municipality regardless of where these amounts are billed or paid and on which a business license tax has not been paid to another municipality. The measurement of the amounts derived from the retail sale of mobile telecommunications services shall include only revenues from the fixed monthly recurring charge of customers whose service address is within the boundaries of the municipality. For a business in operation for less than one year, the amount of business license tax shall be computed on a 12-month projected income.
(Ord. No. 2004-08, § 1, 11-22-2004)
Sec. 8-35. – Tax due.
(a) For the year 2005, the business license tax for “retail telecommunications services” shall be due on February 1, 2005, and payable by February 28, 2005, without penalty, For years after 2005, the business license tax for “retail telecommunications services” shall be due on January 1 of each year and payable by January 31 of that year, without penalty.
(b) The delinquent penalty shall be five percent of the tax due for each month, or portion thereof, after the due date until paid.
(Ord. No. 2004-08, § 2, 11-22-2004)
Sec. 8-36. – Repeal of certain exemptions.
Exemptions for income from business in interstate commerce are hereby repealed. Properly apportioned gross income from interstate commerce shall be included in the gross income for every business subject to a business license tax.
(Ord. No. 2004-08, § 3, 11-22-2004)
Sec. 8-37. – Non-interference with agreements or obligations.
(a) Nothing in this article shall be interpreted to interfere with continuing obligations of any franchise agreement or contractual agreement in the event that the franchise or contractual agreement should expire after December 31, 2003.
(b) All fees collected under such a franchise or contractual agreement expiring after December 31, 2003, shall be in lieu of fees or taxes which might otherwise be authorized by this article.
(Ord. No. 2004-08, § 4, 11-22-2004)
Sec. 8-38. – Collection of delinquent taxes.
As authorized by S.C. Code 1976, § 5-7-300, the agreement with the municipal association of the state for collection of current and delinquent license taxes from telecommunications companies pursuant to S.C. Code 1976, § 58-9-2200 shall continue in effect. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Agreement, for the year 2005, the municipal association of the state is authorized to collect current and delinquent license taxes, in conformity with the due date and delinquent date for 2005 as set out in this article and is further authorized, for the year 2005, to disburse business license taxes collected, less the service charge agreed to, to this municipality on or before April 1, 2005, and thereafter as remaining collections permit.
(Ord. No. 2004-08, § 5, 11-22-2004)