Section 11-49B-22

Taxes; exemptions; reporting credit sales; lien security; state sales tax provisions applicable; charge for collecting tax; voting.

(a) The authority shall, subject to a referendum in the counties it proposes to serve, levy, in addition to all other taxes, including, but not limited to, municipal gross receipts license taxes, a 1/4 percent privilege license tax against gross sales or gross receipts, provided, however, that the rate of such tax on any person, firm, or corporation engaged in the type of business described in Section 40-23-2(4) shall be an amount equal to 1/32 percent of the gross proceeds from sales described in such section.

The gross receipts of any business and the gross proceeds of all sales which are presently exempt under the state sales and use tax statutes are exempt from the tax authorized by this chapter.

(b) The tax levied by this chapter shall be collected by the State Department of Revenue, the authority, the county, or by contract to a business that collects sales tax at the same time and in the same manner as state sales and use taxes are collected. On or prior to the date the tax is due, each person subject to the tax shall file with the department a report in the form prescribed by the department. The report shall set forth, with respect to all sales and business transactions that are required to be used as a measure of the tax levied, a correct statement of the gross proceeds of all the sales and gross receipts of all business transactions. The report shall also include items of information pertinent to the tax as the department may require. Any person subject to the tax levied by this chapter may defer reporting credit sales until after their collection, and in the event the person defers reporting them, the person shall thereafter include in each monthly report all credit collections made during the preceding month, and shall pay the tax due at the time of filing the report. All reports filed with the department under this section shall be available for inspection by the county commission, or its designee.

(c) Each person engaging or continuing in a business subject to the tax levied by this chapter, shall add to the sales price or admission fee and collect from the purchaser or the person paying the admission fee the amount due by the taxpayer because of the sale or admission. It shall be unlawful for any person subject to the tax to fail or refuse to add to the sales price or admission fee and to collect from the purchaser or person paying the admission fee the amount required to be added to the sale or admission price. It shall be unlawful for any person subject to the tax levied by this chapter to refund or offer to refund all or any part of the amount collected or to absorb or advertise directly or indirectly the absorption or refund of any portion of the tax.

(d) The tax levied by this chapter shall constitute a debt due the authority. The tax, together with any interest and penalties, shall constitute and be secured by a lien upon the property of any person from whom the tax is due or who is required to collect the tax. The department shall collect the tax, enforce this chapter, and have and exercise all rights and remedies that the state or the department has for collection of the state sales and use tax. The department may employ special counsel as is necessary to enforce collection of the tax levied by this chapter and to enforce this chapter. The department shall pay the special counsel any fees it deems necessary and proper from the proceeds of the tax collected by it for the authority.

(e) All provisions of the state sales and use tax statutes with respect to the payment, assessment, and collection of the state sales and use tax, making of reports, keeping and preserving records, penalties for failure to pay the tax, promulgating rules and regulations with respect to the state sales and use tax, and the administration and enforcement of the state sales and use tax statutes which are not inconsistent with this chapter shall apply to the tax levied under this chapter, including, without limitation, the provisions of Section 40-23-2(4). The State Commissioner of Revenue and the department shall have and exercise the same powers, duties, and obligations with respect to the tax levied under this chapter that are imposed on the commissioner and department by the state sales and use tax statutes. All provisions of the state sales and use tax statutes that are made applicable by this chapter to the tax levied under this chapter, and to the administration and enforcement of this chapter, are incorporated by reference and made a part of this chapter as if fully set forth herein.

(f) The department shall charge the authority for collecting the tax levied under this chapter in an amount or percentage of total collections as may be agreed upon by the commissioner and the authority. The charge shall not exceed five percent of the total amount of the tax collected in the county. The charge may be deducted each month from the gross revenues from the tax before certification of the amount of the proceeds due the authority for that month. The Commissioner of Revenue shall pay into the State Treasury all amounts collected under this chapter, as the tax is received by the department on or before the first day of each successive month. The commissioner shall certify to the State Comptroller the amount collected and paid into the State Treasury for the benefit of the authority during the month immediately preceding the certification. The State Comptroller shall issue a warrant each month payable to the authority in an amount equal to the certified amount which shall be paid into the authority general fund to be used to fund the authority.

(g) This chapter shall be inoperative and void unless it is approved by a majority of the qualified electors of the county who vote thereon at the next general, primary, or special election in the county. The election shall be held and conducted as are elections on constitutional amendments on a date determined by the county commission. Notice of the election shall be given by the judge of probate and shall be published once a week for three successive weeks before the day of the election. On the ballots used at the election, the proposition to be voted on shall be stated substantially as follows:

"Do you favor the local law authorizing the authority to levy a 1/4 percent sales tax to be used to fund the transportation authority?

"Yes ______ No______."

If a majority of the votes cast at the election are affirmative votes, this chapter shall have full force and effect on the first day of the second month following the election. If a majority of the votes cast are negative votes, this chapter shall have no further effect. The judge of probate shall certify the results of the election to the Secretary of State.

(h) The failure of the referendum in one county shall not preclude the establishment of an authority, and subsequent referendums may be held pursuant to this section without prior legislative approval.

(Acts 1997, No. 97-678, p. 1308, §22; Act 98–628, p. 1379, §1.)