Monday, February 4, 2013

Serial Taxation

Tis tax time in the 'Wood. And boy do they rake it in.

Today's tax rant is about the "occupational tax". On the surface this looks like a simple way of draining money from businesses who cannot vote anyone from office and it proudly wears the shield of "everyone does it". Indeed. Dunwoody sucks no less. What an aspiration.

But this is a special tax. It has the "administrative component" which is a flat fee taken by the City for the courtesy, on their part, of processing this tax. Then there is the headcount portion which is a per-employee assessment. And finally, the magic part, a revenue tax, not a tax on net revenue nor on profits. This is a tax on gross revenue and that makes this the tax that keeps on taxing.

Here's a simple example. Say you run a company in Dunwoody (as many do). You make a hundred dollars. The City is going to take their cut of that one hundred dollars. Suppose you spend the remainder on supplies and materials necessary to keep the business open and being wrapped up in all things Dunwoody you choose to spend it locally. Good for you. And good for Dunwoody, because now they are going to apply exactly the same tax to those remaining dollars and take their second bite at your apple. And should your vendor buy locally as well, they'll get another bite. And another.

So where are all the folks with their yellow shirts and their yellow signs and their yellow bumper stickers proudly singing the Cityhood Anthem "No taxation without representation"? Why are they not up in arms that businesses are now suffering the same injustice that drove them to rebellion? Is it because they're afraid they might actually have to pay for their peccadilloes and prefer that someone else pick up the tab? Ain't this City wonderful?