The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

October 2, 2013

New system simplifies Alabama business taxes

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama businesses can now file their tax returns and pay their city, county and state sales taxes at one electronic location rather than submitting multiple tax reports.

State Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee said Alabama had a tradition of letting cities and counties collect their own taxes, even though most states had gone to a centralized system.

"For years and years, the business community complained it was difficult to do business in Alabama," she said Wednesday.

A law passed in 2012 set the stage for a more efficient system where businesses could file their tax reports and pay their sales, use and rental taxes for the state, cities and counties at one time. She said the state already had an electronic system for state taxes, and it was expanded to include city and county taxes at no cost to the local governments. The new system is called One Spot.

The state doesn't keep any of the cities' and counties' taxes. Instead, the state is providing up to $1 million per year for three years to help cities and counties upgrade their computer hardware and software to operate with the system, she said.

Rosemary Elebash, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said businesses wanted a simpler system.

"There have been complaints since I walked in the door 10 years ago," she said.

She said owners had to contend with filing out multiple reports and meeting multiple deadlines for different governments, which took time away from their businesses.

To sign up for the One Spot system, businesses can got to a state website: https://myalabamataxes.alabama.gov

"They are being user friendly on their system," Elebash said.

Magee said the new system is optional for businesses, and they can keep paying taxes the way they have been if they prefer.

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