About 62,000 of the 70,000 businesses registered in the city are exempt from paying business tax because their tax liability falls below $2,500. But all 70,000 had been required to file returns with the city treasurer. Under the legislation approved Jan. 17, about 39,000 of those businesses -- those with tax liabilities of under $500 -- won't have to file the return at all starting in February, 2002.
But qualifying businesses won't completely escape the paperwork: Each must send in a postcard stating that it doesn't owe any tax payments. As for those that owe between $500 and $2,500, they must still file returns -- even though they are exempt from actual payments.
City officials say businesses covered by the easier requirement can be relatively substantial. One spokesperson estimates that retailers with sales of under $333,000, as well as consultants and professionals with annual receipts below $166,000, will be eligible to send in the postcards. By Robin K. Phillips