Section 11-51-93

Violations; penalties.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, taxpayer, or agent of a person or taxpayer to engage in businesses or vocations in a municipality for which a license may be required without first having procured a license therefor. A violation of this division or of an ordinance passed hereunder fixing a license shall be punishable by a fine fixed by ordinance, not to exceed the sum of five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense, and if a willful violation, by imprisonment, not to exceed six months, or both, at the discretion of the court trying the same. Each day shall constitute a separate offense.

(b) In addition to the penalties prescribed by subsection (a), if a taxpayer fails to pay any business license tax owed to a taxing jurisdiction on or before the date prescribed therefor, there shall be assessed a penalty of 15 percent of the business license tax required to be paid with the license form. There shall be assessed a penalty of 30 percent of any business license tax required to be paid with the license form if the business license tax and any assessed penalties are not paid within 30 days of the due date prescribed in the preceding sentence. Such penalties shall not be cumulative.

(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, no fine or penalty under this section shall be assessed, or if assessed, shall be waived, if reasonable cause exists. "Reasonable cause" shall mean: The death or major illness of or an accident involving a sole proprietor causing serious bodily injury that in either case resulted in the sole proprietor being unable to purchase the license or operate his or her business during the 10 days preceding the due date for the license; natural disaster, fire, explosion, or accident that caused the closing or temporary cessation of the business of the taxpayer during the 10 days preceding the due date for the license; or reliance on the erroneous advice of an employee or agent of the revenue department of the taxing jurisdiction or its designee given in writing or by electronic mail. The municipality may, but is not required to, waive the penalty for other reasons, including, but not limited to, the taxpayer's reliance on erroneous but good faith advice from its tax adviser or on erroneous oral advice from an employee or agent of the revenue department of the taxing jurisdiction or its designee. The burden of proving reasonable cause shall be on the taxpayer, and a determination by the taxing jurisdiction that reasonable cause does not exist shall be reversed only if that determination was made arbitrarily and capriciously.

(d) All penalties and interest administered by the taxing jurisdiction pursuant to this section and Section 11-51-192 shall be assessed and collected in the same manner as business license taxes.

(Code 1907, §1344; Code 1923, §2167; Code 1940, T. 37, §754; Acts 1994, No. 94-644, §1; Act 2006-586, p. 1548, §2.)