City adopts model business license ordinance

From staff reports

The City of Beaufort will replace its current Business License Ordinance with a new model business license that is being adopted statewide to bring uniformity to business license rate classes throughout the State of South Carolina.

City Council took that action at its Tuesday, Sept. 14 meeting during the first reading of a “repeal and replace” ordinance.

The model business license ordinance was developed by the Municipal Association of South Carolina to comply with the Business License Standardization Act, passed by the South Carolina General Assembly in September 2020. The new law was in response to business owners, who were frequently frustrated by language and rate classes that differed from one municipality to another.

The new law requires that cities rebalance their business license rates to achieve revenue neutrality.

That means, Finance Director Kathy Todd explained, that rates are required to be adjusted so that when the new rate class schedule is applied to the 2019 reported gross revenues for the 2020 Business License Tax Year, the City of Beaufort does not earn any additional revenues but instead achieves revenue neutrality. Some businesses may experience higher rates, and some lower, she noted.

She said that this rebalancing is required by the new state law every two years.

The final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 28.

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