Ballard County making efforts to monitor occupational tax

If you’ve done any work in Ballard County in the past year, you may be asked to pay up. The county’s Deputy Judge Executive, former sheriff Todd Cooper, is giving notice to employers who do work in the county that may not be aware of a 1 percent occupational tax.

The tax was passed by the Ballard County Fiscal Court in 1994. It says: ‘’Any person engaging in or following any trade or occupation or profession’’ within the county must pay 1 percent of their gross salary. County Attorney Vicki Hayden says she thinks almost everyone is paying their fair share already. But, now that they have additional manpower after hiring Cooper, they can be sure.

Hayden says this isn’t a ploy to generate more tax revenue. Rather, when the Verso paper mill idled, the fiscal court noticed a lot of subcontractors at the plant were leaving, too. Hayden says that sparked the question: “How many more subcontractors out there that may come into the county to work for two weeks, two months, and leave and they never pay this tax because we’re not aware they’re here?” 

The ordinance shows that the responsibility falls on the treasurer to receive the tax and enforce it. But, Hayden says it’s a job that requires door-to-door contact and, because of a lack of time and manpower, some revenue could have been overlooked in recent years.

Some of the 180 employers contacted are exempt because they’re self-employed. One of the businesses contacted has already paid $4,000 since the notice.

Graves County is in a similar situation with enforcing its 1 percent tax. That county don’t have a designated person in charge of taking care of the tax. Graves County posts the regulations online and hopes that people will be honest and pay what’s due.

In McCracken County, employers are required to have a license to perform labor. That, Hayden says, would be very helpful and solve the problem in Ballard County. 

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