City Attorney Going After Businesses Not Paying Taxes

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By Ashley Thompson

When you buy something in Montgomery, you pay a 10 percent sales tax. But some business owners are not turning that money over to the city.

And one Montgomery city attorney is going after them. 

Mickey Mcinnish is a senior staff attorney with Montgomery city investigations. For the past three years, he's been going after business owners who don't have business permits and who don't pay their sales tax.
 
"I feel like it's the right thing to do or I wouldn't do it," he says. "This is not punishment, this is fairness to everybody."
 
He tells us 50 thousand dollars was collected from business owners just last month. Over the past three years, two million dollars has been retrieved. 
 
"When I go into a business and I pay 10 percent tax, I expect that to be paid to the different government agencies because that's what keeps our police paid, what keeps our roads paved..."
 
Montgomery City Councilman Arch Lee says the council tries to work with business owners if they fall on hard times but says there's often repeat offenders.
 
"There's a lot of folks that you don't ever see on the council because they get the letter, they work it out," he says. "They come in, they pay, they get on a payment plan or whatever it might be. The ones that you see on the council agenda are generally the ones that haven't responded."
 
Blake Sadler with the Railyard Brewing Company in Montgomery says all businesses shold adhere to the standards.
 
"We definitely get all of our sales taxes paid and I think it's definitely unfair that some businesses think that they don't have to pay sales tax," he says. 
 
But Mcinnish says he only rules with an iron fist when he has to, telling us business owners are first given warnings by tax collectors. When they fail to respond, that's when he comes in.
 
"We're down now in the neighborhood of 100 to 150 thousand dollars that we're collecting in monthly installments from different businesses. "
 
And he says it's always important to ask whether a business even has a business license.  If they don't, they're not paying taxes either.