New System Simplifies Filing Taxes for Alabama Businesses

Oct 21, 2013 No Comments ›› Admin

If you are a business owner in the state of Alabama, odds are you recently received a letter in the mail from the Department of Revenue notifying you that beginning October 1, 2013 businesses and retailers can file their taxes through the new Optional Network Election for Single Point Online Transactions (ONE SPOT) system. This will provide Alabama businesses with the ease of filing their monthly county and city sales, use and rental taxes, along with state taxes through a single web site at one time.

When a group of folks came to me during the 2012 session to discuss this legislation it made all the sense in the world to me as a business owner myself. Before the ONE SPOT system, businesses were required to file a number of city, county and state taxes in different places at different times – often requiring significant paper work. I was proud to sponsor the ONE SPOT legislation to ensure that we improve the way businesses operate, while also encouraging economic growth by making it easier for new businesses considering to locate to Alabama.

The ONE SPOT system does not require that any or all businesses in Alabama participate in this new system. It is completely up to the business owner or retailer whether they choose to continue filing them as always or decide to use the new online option in an effort to save time and require less paper work, which will save businesses money.

The My Alabama Taxes portal on the Alabama Department of Revenue web site will allow you to sign up your business if you have not already done so by accessing: www.myalabamataxes.alabama.gov. State and many local taxes, including those administered by the state and those for 20 of the counties and cities that serve as their own administrators, can now be filed and remitted through My Alabama Taxes – regardless who administers those taxes. If you have questions, email onespot@revenue.alabama.gov.

I met with several of my legislative colleagues in Montgomery a few weeks ago to discuss how we can build on the success of ONE SPOT to ensure that we continue to improve the business climate in Alabama. We are currently working to finalize the Alabama Business License Reform Act, which I plan to sponsor in the upcoming session. We have created a Business License Reform Subcommittee to study and make recommendations for improving these laws for businesses in Alabama.

Under current law, only certain businesses must obtain state and county business licenses. Many of the existing licenses are for antiquated endeavors while certain other businesses, such as IT Firms, are not even required to obtain the business license. This can be very confusing and, in turn, makes doing business in Alabama more difficult.

We should be doing everything we can to support existing and new businesses in our state. The Business License Reform Act will simplify Alabama’s business license laws by consolidating and eliminating more than a hundred existing state and county business licenses. Instead, this will make obtaining a business license simple and fair – every business with a location in Alabama will have to obtain a state business license.

Additionally, this legislation will eliminate all existing county business licenses authorized by a local act, but would allow each county to impose a flat business license fee on each location a business has in their county. We feel this will be easier for both the businesses and the county.

Similar to last year’s ONE SPOT legislation, this bill calls for the Department to create a system (the “Online Filing System”), where businesses would be able to obtain their state business license, and eventually, all county and municipal business licenses, as well.

If we can continue to streamline the way businesses have to deal with government bureaucracy in Alabama, I believe we will not only improve existing businesses but also encourage others to locate here in the future. Alabamians have a long, proven history of running their businesses on their own and if we can give them the tools to continue that good work we all benefit.