PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Sevier County family that owns a gift shop has finally been successful in opening their business, but they had to fight tons of red tape first to get their business license.
With that battle won, the Pecks have a new issue on their hands. A few weeks ago, the state Department of Revenue sent the store owners a delinquency notice for the month of January. But they never collected any sales taxes that month because the city wouldn’t let them open their store, over an issue with a wall that needed to be replaced.
“The inspector came in walked to the back of the store walked to the front and said, I’ll send you your certificate,” said Mark.
“I was sitting back there on the desk on the computer. He walked back there and said, hi! Bye!,” said Tobie.
So after the nearly four months delay, Tobias Uniques opened for customers. The store’s business license from Pigeon Forge hangs on the wall.
“Being open is a great feeling to be back in business, to talk with my customers and I’m so excited,” said Tobie.
With that issue settled, there is a new problem for the family. They were told they owe over $3,000 in taxes for January when they were unable to open.
“That’s the bill from the state saying we owe revenue taxes when we were not even open,” said Mark.
“The tax revenue wants us to pay all the penalties and the money that they estimated that we made in January. We didn’t have our business license then, so how could we pay taxes when we couldn’t even open,” said Tobie
“I don’t understand it, the guy tells me well we just estimate what you owe. I’m going, how can you estimate? We weren’t open,” said Mark.
The store’s business ledger for January shows no transactions for the month, or for the next three months.
The state Department of Revenue tells WATE that when businesses register for a tax account, they need to file a tax return even if the business had no sales for the reporting period. The tax return in that case will report zero dollars due. If the business does not file its tax return, the system will automatically send an estimated assessment to the taxpayer as a Final Demand letter. However, after getting the Final Demand letter, the business can file the missing return or returns.
“I want it to go away. It is a headache,” said Mark.
Tobie and Mark called a few hours ago saying their headache is over. Based on the information sent to us from the Department of Finance, we encouraged Mark to call the state directly, and he did. He presented the background to a representative from the sales and tax office, their response was quick.
Mark was told his business should not have gotten the demand letter because their store was not registered with the state in January after the business had moved from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge at the end of December. Mark was told he’ll be sent a form within a few days showing his store does not owe any money to the state.