MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Senate today concurred with technical amendments added by the House to a bill that will streamline the process for businesses filing tax returns with cities and counties across the state, sending the bill to Governor Robert Bentley to be signed into law.
The legislation was a key recommendation from both Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s Initiative to Streamline Government and House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s Commission on Job Creation.
Senate Bill 459, sponsored by Senator Slade Blackwell (R-Mountain Brook) and handled by Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) in the House, creates an electronic single point of filing system that will be made available for businesses filing and remitting state and local sales, use and rental and lease taxes. The system, known as ONE SPOT – Optional Network Election for Single Point Online Transactions, will be administered by the Alabama Department of Revenue and available for use by both taxpayers and Alabama municipalities and counties at no cost. The bill requires the system to be operational in time for returns and payments due in tax periods that begin after Sept. 30, 2013.
Senator Marsh said the bill, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, is a great example of how a more efficient state government can better serve the people of Alabama.
“This bill is a common sense solution to a burdensome, impractical process and would not have been a reality without a collaborative effort from county and city governments, the Department of Revenue, members of the business community and others all working together toward a common goal,” Senator Marsh said.
A single point of filing system is a significant step in the right direction toward eliminating bureaucratic red tape and promoting growth in Alabama’s private sector economy, Speaker Hubbard said.
“As we travelled the state asking business owners what was hindering them from growing their business and hiring more workers, nearly everyone pointed to bureaucratic red tape. Implementing a streamlined single point of filing system is the definition of cutting red tape and I’m proud to have worked on this effort that will boost job growth and make government more efficient all at the same time.”
Senator Blackwell said members of the business community have been calling for this reform for years and could be one of the most important pro-business bills passed this session.
“This is a cool bill and could easily be one of the most important, pro-business bills the Legislature passes this year,” Blackwell said. “Eliminating excessive red tape through the use of modern technology and easing this administrative burden on business is a win-win.”
Under current law, taxpayers doing business in more than one municipality or county in Alabama must file separate tax returns with each of those local taxing jurisdictions as well as the Alabama Department of Revenue. According to the Alabama Retail Association, some retailers in the state have to file up to 150 returns and write up to 150 checks to up to 150 different government entities every month.