Each year, business licenses expire on December 31. The City allows a grace period from January 1 to February 28 before a penalty fee is added. If not renewed by March 1, business owners can expect to pay a late fee penalty.
Although it is a simpler process for business owners to renew their license than it was to apply, each occupational tax certificate must be in full compliance. To be in compliance, business owners should verify their business location, verify business name, verify mailing address, and, if applicable, verify their state license is current. A business license will not be approved nor renewed, if the business owner or landowner (where the business is located), owes delinquent occupation tax, property taxes, or ad valorem tax to the City of Douglas or Coffee County Board of Commission. Also, a business license/renewal will not be granted if the business owner or property owner owes a debt, such as delinquent utility bill, to the City of Douglas.
If any changes occur with the business, there are several different application processes, based upon what was changed with the business. Business name changes require a new and separate application process. In event that the ownership changes, an application for ownership/address change must be completed. If a business has a partner and wants to remove that partner, the partner must provide a written statement to the Marshal’s Office stating they want to be removed from the Occupational Tax Certificate. The remaining person does not have to reapply. Both the previous owner and the new owner must sign the application.
If a business has an address change:
(A) Home Occupation Based to Home Occupation Based – Ensure the new address is still in the City of Douglas. The owner must fill out the Owner/Address Change Application and provide proof of residency for the new location.
(B) Home Occupation Based to Home Occupation Based– Zoning standards must be approved. the applicant to complete the Owner/ Address Change Application and meet all the application requirement.
(C) Non-Residential to Non-Residential – Ensure the new address is still in the City of Douglas. The owner must fill out the Owner/Address Change Application and provide proof of residency for the new location. City ordinance does not allow commercial equipment to be stored in residential zoned property. See City Ordinance Section 86-60 and the Unified Land Development Code.
(D) Non-Residential to Home Occupation Based – Ensure the new address is still in the City of Douglas. The owner must fill out the Owner/Address Change Application and provide proof of residency for the new location. See City Ordinance Section 86-60 and the Unified Land Development Code.
CITY COMMISSION VOTES TO EXTEND GRACE PERIOD FOR DELINQUENT PERSONAL AND PROPERTY TAXES FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
At the City Commission meeting on Monday, March 8, 2021, the City of Douglas Mayor and Commission approved an extended grace period for business owners and/or property owners to pay delinquent personal and property taxes owed to the City, County, and School Board. The grace period will be now through February 28, 2022. This extension will allow more time to pay debt owed for personal/property taxes. All businesses operating in the City of Douglas, whether they owe back taxes or not, need to pay their 2021 license fee by May 31, 2021. Each year, business licenses expire on December 31st. The normal renewal period is November 1 through February 28.
City staff will move forward with processing provisional occupational tax (business) license renewals for the tax indebted individuals/businesses provided the business or property owner signs an agreement with terms outlined by the City of Douglas. If, after signing the agreement, a business or property owner does not bring their tax delinquency current as of February 28, 2022; effective March 1, 2022, the business or property owner will be charged a 10% penalty. The business owner/property owner may also face a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 per day, if found to be operating without an official occupational tax license from the City of Douglas.
The extension of time by the City of Douglas, does not alter any collections, sales, or plans by the Coffee County Commission. To settle delinquent taxes, the business or land owner will need to visit the Tax Commissioner’s Office at the Coffee County Courthouse. To pay business license fees, customers should go to the Community Development Department – Code Enforcement office which is located at the Ashley-Slater House, 211 S. Gaskin Avenue. For more information concerning renewal of business licenses or operating a business within the City of Douglas, please call the Code Enforcement Division, (912) 389-3460 or (912) 389-3462.
Link to Grace Period Information Flyer (PDF)