Welcome to my world!

My life's been crazy since my Daddy moved in with me immediately after my mother's death in October 2010. My one and only kiddo headed to college at Carolina at the end of August. So...I lived on my own, for the first time in my life, for a total of a blissful six weeks. Then, I started the parenting gig with my dad. He's a combination of a grouchy old man, a surly teenager and a temperamental toddler. Needless to say, I get very close to the brink of insanity sometimes. I get through life by finding the humor in difficult circumstances. And for some reason, I wind up in the weirdest situations. I couldn't make this stuff up. So I wind up having lots and lots crazy adventures which make great stories to share with my friends. Writing about my life is so therapeutic. My ramblings range from funny to sad to angry (full of cuss words) to sweet. While my focus is dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a parent to my Daddy, I have lots of random, totally unrelated posts. Whatever's on my mind. I love to make people laugh, and I'm happy to think my readers will get my strange sense of humor. And maybe, people who are in my situation will be encouraged. That's all I can hope for...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oh. My. God.

I just spent a fuckin' hour on the phone with someone in the Georgia Department of Revenue. She was brilliant. And patient.

I have a client who sold some stuff to a client in Atlanta. They also installed this stuff. Well, I'm sure you'll find this fascinating: some states charge sales tax on services. We charge the sales tax on the goods we sell, but since we also charge to install these goods, we have to collect and remit sales tax if they apply. And every single fucking state and municipality is different.

Now, Atlanta is special. Four Georgia counties have Atlanta addresses. Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Cobb. Only Fulton and DeKalb have areas within the Atlanta city limits. Parts of Fulton and DeKalb are outside the city limits. Clayton and Cobb counties could have Atlanta addresses, but those are unincorporated.

So, here's how it goes. Georgia charges 4% sales tax on goods and freight. But not professional fees. By the way, Georgia non-profits are NOT exempt from sales tax. Unless they have a Letter of Authorization from the Office of Tax Policy. Only qualified organizations are exempt. And there's a list of those. But that's neither here nor there.

Now, in addition to the state tax, there's a county tax and city tax if the services are provided within the city limits. Fulton and DeKalb charge 3%, Clayton charges 3% (but is not in the city limits even though the address says Atlanta), and Cobb charges 2% (same re city limits as Clayton.)

If the customer is in Atlanta city limits, there's a 1% municipality tax. In order to find out if they're in city limits, you have to go to a special website and type in the address. The name only in the address slot. In the address type, use the drop down box to choose street, road, place, avenue...

Then you have to go to the USPS website and type in the address (complete with street, road, place...) to get the zip code. That will tell you which county it's in.

I asked sweet sales tax lady if we have to file every month even though we might never sell in Georgia again. She directed me to a special form for one time only events.

So here's the deal. I did the calculation. We should pay $17.50 to the Great State of Georgia. There's no de minimus provision. I'm going to punt. Or not. I figure if we don't collect it from the customer, the worst that could happen is that they'd come back and make us pay, including interest and penalties. If we collect and don't remit, we'll go to jail.

Now my big dilemma is whether to explain this conundrum to my client or just tell her we're fine. Of course I'll tell her. Because she needs to understand how complicated this is.

I left a message telling her to go ahead and bill our client in unincorporated Fulton County, and not to worry about sales tax. That I'd explain later. And that I would tackle Beverly Hills, Manhattan and D.C. tomorrow.

Shit. I'm so ready to go to work on an Alaskan fishing vessel for the rest of the summer. I hear they have good cooks. And I'm sure the weather's cool.

Actually, I'm jonesin' for Boston. And I'm checking my bag. Maybe two. Or a steamer trunk.

For now, I've got to tackle the lawn. Put on my MP3 and hope those nasty Led Zeppelin lyrics clear my head. Maybe I should try some Enya instead...

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