Act 176, which standardizes the business license tax process, requires cities and towns to standardize their business license practices by January 1, 2022. It also calls for the establishment and use of an online business license renewal payment portal to be hosted and managed by the SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. The portal is known as the Local Business License Renewal Center.
While the law does set the beginning of 2022 as a deadline for standardization, it does not set a deadline for cities and towns to begin using the portal. Instead, the law states that jurisdictions must provide access to the portal for reporting, calculating and paying business licenses, “subject to the availability and capability of the portal.”
As its name suggests, the license renewal center will only process the renewal of existing business licenses. Cities and towns that issue business licenses will still need to issue new licenses as they do now without using the portal which will allow them to retain control over issuance or denial of a license.
While the law calls for the portal to be made available to businesses, it does not set the system as the only means of handling license renewals. Licensing cities and towns are still required to accept payments in person, by phone or by mail.
The specific steps of business license standardization aim to make the process of licensing easier for businesses, especially those who must obtain licenses in multiple jurisdictions. The online portal is no exception. It will enable businesses to make payments and report income to multiple cities and counties as needed, all at one time. The system will then remit the entire taxpayer payment directly to the taxing jurisdiction.
Cities and towns who are ready to get started with the portal can do so by having their primary business license staff person contact the Municipal Association’s Fran Adcock, collections analyst, at email@example.com or 803.933.1201. They will then be able to create an account for the jurisdiction and upload their existing business license data.
Then, businesses looking to renew licenses can select participating jurisdictions where they operate and create an account for their renewals at www.localblrenewal.com. Inside the system, they can update their information as needed, report revenue, apply deductions and upload necessary documents. They can track their renewals through the system and respond to requests for feedback from cities and towns during the process.
Learn more about the business license standardization process.