Alabaster eases requirements for single-residence renters

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster City Council voted during its Sept. 17 meeting to remove business license requirements for those renting out a single residence in the city limits.

Before the vote, the city’s regulations, which were originally adopted in 1988, required those renting out a residence in the city limits to first obtain an Alabaster business license, City Attorney Jeff Brumlow said during a previous council work session.

The previous regulations also required those renting out a single residence to pay business license fees for up to five years in arrears.

As a result of the Sept. 17 changes, which went into effect immediately, those renting out a single residence in the city no longer must obtain a business license. Those renting out two or more residences still must obtain business licenses.

The ongoing economic downturn has caused more people to rent out their houses when they are having trouble selling them, council members said previously.

“I think this will make it a lot more fair,” Ward 7 Councilman Tommy Ryals said of the changes.

In other business, the council also voted to start filing the city’s sales, use and rental taxes on the Alabama Department of Revenue’s online filing system.

The vote came a few weeks after the council heard a presentation from ALDOR representative John Paradise, who told council members recently passed legislation will require all cities to use the electronic filing system beginning in September 2014.

Businesses in city limits are required to file sales, use and rental taxes with both the city and the state.

Paradise said most of the city’s tax-paying entities already file state taxes online, and said the city could see an influx in its tax collections by offering electronic filing.

“You are going to see taxpayers filing that you’ve never seen before,” Paradise said. “You are going to see your compliance go up, and that is an additional revenue stream for you guys.”

The online filing system will charge the city $1.21 per transaction until September 2014. After September 2014, the system will be free, Paradise said.