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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 4, 2006 7:26 AM. The previous post in this blog was Earl the Pearl: Don't change a thing. The next post in this blog is Rocky Mountain high. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, May 4, 2006

Hot roaster

A gal who runs the fine Ristretto Roasters coffee shop up in the Beaumont neighborhood (where Winterborne restaurant used to be) has a blog. Lately, she's wrapping her mind around the Multnomah County property tax on her business equipment.

Executive summary: She no like.

Comments (17)

Fudgesticks!!
What's wrong with Portland?! School closings, moronic business taxes, $500 sq ft condos, useless OSHU trams and let's not forget this ridiculous business impact tax.
http://portland.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2004/08/02/story2.html?page=2
It makes wonder why anyone in their right mind who move here to start a family or business. I have a theory, Portland hates children but loves your money.

She had better be careful. She'll probably be visited by various inspectors. They'll be bringing their fine toothed combs.

The coffee lady sounds like she needs to switch to de-caf, because, as we keep saying, Oregon has the 44th lowest taxes of any state in the union and look out Mississippi!

Try Biloxi, honey, if it's above water. I'll call U-Haul for ya.

How do other, comparable jurisdictions handle this. (I.e., I'm not interested in hearing how Harney County does it, but rather how other metro counties around the country do it.) I recall a similiar tax was also a hot topic in my former state of residence, which was not, shall we say, a blue state.

The coffee lady sounds like she needs to switch to de-caf, because, as we keep saying, Oregon has the 44th lowest taxes of any state in the union and look out Mississippi!

I think she was less upset by the taxes themselves, and more by the bureaucratic inefficiency: they sent her a notice on April 27 that had a due date of March 1, then told her that she would be assessed a 5% late fee, and then would have to file a claim to have that fee refunded, when all they had to do was not assess the late fee because they sent her the notice two months after it was due.

And besides, this isn't Oregon--this is Portland. ;)

Uh did any of you actually read her comment?

The issue is the Kafkaesque timing. She got a letter on April 27th saying she had to file by March 1st? When she called to ask they said since she is a new business she has until June 1st to file, then she'll be assessed a 5% fine for missing the March deadline!

As far as the onerous tax burden on small buisness, there isn't one, at least in this instance, having less than $14K in equipment exempts you. Which does beg the question of the 5%, I would say 5% of nothign is of course nothing, but we'll see:-)

I do take exception to one of her comments, she says she was already taxed onthe equipment since even though Oregon has no sales tax she bought her equipment on-line (I'm assuming this means she paid sales tax to the states of origin) All I have to say to that is that was a choice she made, hardly Oregon's fault.

Wow, Dave you and I must have been typing our comments at exactly the same time.

Not to mention that she need only claim that she has less than $14K of stuff and avoid the whole mess. I wonder which route she'll take?

"...as we keep saying, Oregon has the 44th lowest taxes of any state in the union and look out Mississippi!"

That's gotta be the most self-serving manufactured load of pap I've seen all week.

She kinds if a "hot" roaster...perhaps ill get myself a cup of coffee.

Not to mention that she need only claim that she has less than $14K of stuff and avoid the whole mess. I wonder which route she'll take?

Having managed a coffeehouse, I can tell you there is no way that they have less than $14,000 worth of equipment. A top-of-the-line espresso maker can set you back $15,000 to $20,000. They roast their own beans, and those roasters can cost even more. Add the stove, dishwasher, etc. etc. etc., and that's a sizeable investment in equipment.

What I wonder about is how this doesn't constitute double taxation. The whole reason you buy the equipment is to make money, and you are taxed on the money you make. And then they tax you on the stuff you bought to make that money. Very silly.

That's gotta be the most self-serving manufactured load of pap I've seen all week.

Then I take it you missed Candidates Gone Wild.

8c)

Kafkaesque?

Just the facts, M'am:

All business personal property is subject to taxation in Oregon - ORS 307.020(1)(c), 307.030, 308.250

The assessor may require a list of taxable property - ORS 308.285

Personal property returns are due March 1 - ORS 308.290

Penalties for late filing and appeal rights - ORS 308.296

Tax on value under certain amount (currently $14k) subject to cancellation - ORS 308.250(2)

This system has been in place for a long, long time. Although it may be a convenience, there is no requirement that the county send anyone a form or remind them of what the law requires - its a self-reporting system like income tax. Taxpayers are deemed to know the law, including coffee shop owners. Sounds like the county did this business a favor by potentially cutting off a larger late filing penalty.

Just because they have the "legal right" to tax business property doesn't make it morally correct.

The Communists had the "legal right" to own all methods of production, but that didn't make is morally correct or efficient.

Bad laws can be corrected in a just society.

Taxpayers are deemed to know the law, including coffee shop owners. Sounds like the county did this business a favor by potentially cutting off a larger late filing penalty.

Did you read her post? The "Kafkaesque" part is the city sending her a bill, in an envelope postmarked April 27, that was due March 1.

Thanks, Dave. Jim, commenting over at my site, seems to have similar trouble locating what editors call "the nut graph."
And thanks for the link. Mr. Bog!

Sent her a bill? Tax bills come out in late October following the determination of values from returns due March 1. Best guess - the county determined that she should have sent in a filing but didn't, so, rather than send her a different late filer notice, sent her the standard form letter. A more elaborate and nuanced system with multiple letters for all occasions would cost more tax dollars - its that or the tram [ka-boom!]. Perfect? Perhaps not, but, as she pointed out, a real person on the other end of the line walked her through what she needed to know to comply with longstanding state law. Next?


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