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Santa Ana Business License Tax Amnesty Program Lasts Until April 30

April 14, 2010

Santa Ana City HallFrom the Orange County Register – The owners of 1,300 unlicensed businesses have paid $500,000 to get business licenses in Santa Ana under a business license  tax amnesty program that started in February, the city announced.

Santa Ana had 25,708 business licenses as of Jan. 31, said Christine Duarte, treasurer manager for the city. But the Franchise Tax Board sent Santa Ana a list of 15,000 businesses that filed Schedule C income from a business forms with their income tax returns that weren’t among the licensed businesses.

“There were so many individuals who did not have business licenses and didn’t know they needed one, and we didn’t want to overwhelm them with taxes and penalties,” Duarte said.

She said she was unaware of any other Orange County cities with business license amnesty programs but similar amnesties had been successful in San Jose and Los Angeles.

However, other cities might consider such an amnesty because so many are struggling with finances because of the recession and all of them get a list from the Franchise Tax Board of business-income reporters within their jurisdictions.

In March, Santa Ana was facing a budget deficit of as much as $25 million. Money from business license taxes goes into the general fund.

The business license tax in Santa Ana ranges from $200 to $10,000 but averages around $350 based on the type of business, number of employees and gross receipts.

Businesses must have a license in Santa Ana if they do any business in town, even if they are not based in the city.

The amnesty, which ends April 30, allows owners to buy a license without penalty or interest, which can be as much as the license itself. Click here for more information on the Business License Tax Amnesty Program or call (714) 647-5257. Licenses can be bought from the Finance Division at Santa Ana City Hall, which is located at 20 Civic Center Plaza.  You can access Santa Ana City Hall by OCTA Routes 51, 55, 83, and 145.  City Hall is also one mile west of the Santa Ana Train Depot, which is served by Metrolink and Amtrak trains.

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