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City - Public Utility Ordinance

ADOPTED METROPOLITAN COUNCIL DEC 13, 1989

CITY - PUBLIC UTILITY ORDINANCE 9027

 

TO LEVY, COLLECT AND ENFORCE AN ANNUAL EXCISE LICENSE OR PRIVILEGE TAX FOR THE YEAR 1990, AND ALL SUBSEQUENT YEARS, ON ALL PERSONS, ASSOCIATIONS OF PERSONS, FIRMS AND CORPORATIONS ENGAGED IN THE PUBLIC UTILITY BUSINESS IN THE CITY OF BATON ROUGE; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR THE ENFORCEMENT THEREOF; TO DEFINE CERTAIN WORDS AND TERMS USED HEREIN; AND TO REPEAL ALL ORDINANCES IN CONFLICT AND TO PROVIDE THE EFFECT THEREOF.

BE IT ORDAINED by the Metropolitan Council of the Parish of East Baton Rouge and City of Baton Rouge:

Section 1.

In addition to all other taxes of every kind whatsoever now imposed by law, there is hereby levied an annual excise license or privilege tax for the year 1990 and all subsequent years, upon all persons, associations of persons, firms or corporations engaged in the public utility business within the corporate limits of the City of Baton Rouge as extended on and after January 1, 1949. The excise tax levied herein shall be five (5%) percent, unless a franchise agreement between the public utility and the City provides for a different amount, of the gross receipts of each public utility from its sales and services within the corporate limits of the City of Baton Rouge, except such receipts from any sales to, or services rendered to the state or any federal, state, municipal, parish, or other governmental agency, within the corporate limits of the city.

Section 2.

  1. The excise taxes levied herein shall be due and payable on the first day of the month next following each quarter in the year. If the amount of tax due by the public utility is not paid on or before the twenty-fifth (25th) day of the month next following the quarter for which the tax is due, there shall be collected with said tax, interest upon said unpaid amount at the rate of one and one-quarter (1-1/4%) percent per month, or fractional part thereof; and in addition, there shall also be collected a penalty equivalent to five (5%) percent per month, or fractional part thereof, not to exceed twenty-five (25%) percent in aggregate, of the tax due, when such tax is not paid on or before the twenty-fifth (25th) day of the month next following the quarter for which the tax is due; and both interest and penalty will be computed from the first day of the month next following the quarter for which the tax is due. If the failure to pay any such tax when due is explained to the satisfaction of the Director of Finance, he may remit or waive payment of the whole, or any part, of any penalty which is currently due or found to be due in the future on current year or prior year taxes. In the event of suit, attorney's fees will be charged at the rate of ten (10%) percent on the aggregate of tax, interest and penalty. All interest and penalties due for subsequent months will be due as of the first day of each succeeding month. All taxes, interest, and penalties imposed under this ordinance shall be paid to the City of Baton Rouge in the form of remittance required by the Director of Finance.

  2. All penalties and interest imposed by this ordinance shall be payable to and recoverable by the City of Baton Rouge in the same manner as if they were part of the tax imposed.

Section 3.

Every person, association of persons, firm or corporation subject to the excise tax levied herein must submit to the Director of Finance, in duplicate, the form provided by the Director of Finance of the City of Baton Rouge, which form will be sworn to and will evidence such facts as are necessary to determine the amount of tax due hereunder. This form must be filed quarterly, on or before the twenty-fifth (25th) day of the next month following the close of the preceding calendar quarter.

Section 4.      Definitions:

"Sales" shall be construed to mean and cover only sales of electricity, gas and water, including receipts attributable to fuel adjustments.

"Services" shall be construed to mean and cover only services rendered in providing the public with local telephone services, including, by way of illustration but not of limitation, basic telephone service, mobile phones, public pay phones, installation of exchange access lines and receipts generated by publishing directories, and by furnishing advertising space in any directory, newsletter, bulletin, billing and/or statement.

"Persons" means any individual, firm, co-partnership, joint adventure, association, corporation, co-operative, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, syndicate, or other group or combination acting as a unit, and the plural as well as the singular number.

"Public Utility" shall be construed to mean any business experiencing sales or providing services as defined in this section.

"Business" includes any activity engaged in by any person or caused to be engaged in by him with the object of gain, benefit, or advantage, either direct or indirect. The term "business" shall not be construed in this ordinance to include occasional and isolated sales or transactions by a person who does not hold himself out as engaged in business.

The term "Director of Finance" means and includes the Director of Finance of the City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge or his duly authorized assistants.

Section 5.

  1. In the event any public utility fails to make a report and pay the tax as provided by this ordinance, or in case the public utility makes a grossly incorrect report or a report that is false or fraudulent, it shall be the duty of the Director of Finance to make an estimate for the taxable period of the gross receipts of such public utility and assess and collect the tax and interest, plus penalty, if such have accrued, on the basis of such assessment, which shall be considered prima facie correct, and the burden to show the contrary shall rest upon the public utility.

  2. It shall be the duty of every public utility required to make a report and pay any tax under this ordinance to keep and preserve suitable records of the gross receipts or sales of services taxable under this ordinance, and such other books of account as may be necessary to determine the amount of tax due hereunder, and other information as may be required by the Director of Finance; and it shall be the duty of every such public utility, moreover, to keep and preserve for a period of three (3) calendar years, in addition to the current year, all records of gross receipts or other subjects of taxation under this ordinance; and all such books and other records shall be open to examination at all reasonable hours by the Director of Finance or any of his duly authorized agents.

  3. Any information required during the conduct of the audit shall be furnished to the Director of Finance or his duly authorized agent without cost. Such information may include, but is not limited to, specialized reports accumulating data from electronic data processing records.

Section 6.

Any public utility, its agent, or employee, required to make, render, sign or verify any return as aforesaid, who makes a false or fraudulent return with intent to evade a tax hereby levied, or fails to comply with any provision of this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not more than Two Hundred and No/l00 ($200.00) Dollars, or be imprisoned in the jail for not more than sixty (60) days, or shall be punished by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.

Section 7.

The Director of Finance shall be authorized to enter into a formal installment payment agreement with a taxpayer for the collection of past due tax, penalty and interest, when in his opinion it is in the best interest of the City to do so.

Section 8.

All ordinances, or parts of ordinances, except City Ordinance 2670, adopted July 28, 1971, and City Ordinance 4727, adopted July 28, 1982, in conflict herewith are hereby repealed, but nothing contained herein shall prevent the collection of any excise tax and penalties due the City of Baton Rouge on the effective date hereof, under the provisions of any ordinances or parts of ordinances hereby repealed.

Section 9.

This ordinance shall become effective January 1, 1990.