This time of year, taxes are on everyone's mind. Returns can be a grueling task, even for the most organized business operators. But what about the tax issues you face day-to-day? By now most of you understand the precarious situation facing New Jersey operators since the state legislature decided self-storage should be subject to sales tax. Owners either absorb the cost or pass it on to tenantstwo equally unattractive options.
This is by no means an isolated tale of woe. Other states contemplate similar tax applications, and there are storage facilities embroiled in legal tussles even now. For example, the town of Blacksburg, S.C., is one of many municipalities facing a class-action law suit for the way it classifies businesses like self-storage for taxing purposes, according to a recent artile in The Gaffney Ledger.
Here is yet another example of how state self-storage associations are the champions of our business: The South Carolina association, together with the S.C. Association of Personnel and Staffing, have brought a complaint against Blacksburg on behalf of "all members and entities similarly situated." They contend the city's method for calculating its business license fee is "random, arbitrary and capricious." I wasn't able to find any further info, as this association does not yet have a website. But I'll provide updates if possible.
If any of you know of other cities or states grappling with similar tax challenges, please post your insights to this blog. It's important for members of the self-storage community to understand the plight of their colleagues, especially since one never knows when the tables will turn in his very own market.
Ours is still a highly misunderstood business in many areas. Localities often complain we aren't a great producer of tax revenuethey will understandably do what they can to change that scenario if possible. So keep your ear to the ground. Know what's happening in your local government, and support your state association, if you have one.