Myrtle Beach business license changes could affect rental proper - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach business license changes could affect rental property owners

The change to business licenses this year is that if you rent out even just one property, you have to get a license. The change to business licenses this year is that if you rent out even just one property, you have to get a license.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - If you do business in Myrtle Beach, you have until May 31 to get all of your paperwork in order and pay to renew or obtain a business license.

According to the city spokesperson, Mark Kruea, this annual tax allows you the privilege of getting a license and doing business within city limits. There's a base business license fee and then a percentage on top of that. The rate is based on what the business is projected to make in the next year, and it will vary based on the business, because there are many different classifications.

Kruea says this fee could range from $100 to $250, depending on how much the business makes. The purpose of adding what seems like just another fee, according to the city, is to raise revenue for the general fund.

“A business license really is a privilege license,” says Kruea. “We want to know who is doing business in the city of Myrtle Beach. Plus that business license fee, in most cases it's fairly small, but it helps to provide all the services that make Myrtle Beach such a great place to live, and work, and vacation, and actually have a business.”

Business licenses fluctuate year to year depending on the economy and whether there's a lot of construction in the area. During the recession the city saw fewer applications for business licenses, but Kruea says the city is definitely in a growth period and has been issuing more new business licenses.

The change this year is that if you rent out even just one property, you have to get a license. Before, you only had to get a license if you had two or more rental properties. And this goes for long-term rentals, short-term rentals, and anyone out-of-town who is renting out their second home. Myrtle Beach City Council actually approved the change last year to give owners as much notice as possible.

“There really was no good reason why somebody with just one rental property was exempted when everyone else was required to have a business license. If you got two properties, you needed a business license, you're in business. If you've got one property, you're still in business. And it's just fairer for everybody, for all folks who have a rental property to have a business license,” says Kruea.

And it is important to note, this license does not get you out of paying other taxes as a rental. Short-term or vacation rentals still have to pay the state and local accommodations tax and hospitality fees, according to the law.

The penalty for not renewing a business license or simply not getting one in the first place is five percent of the license fee for each month, or a fraction of a month that you do not have a license, up to a maximum of three years. That percentage is on top of the initial license fee you never paid. The five-percent-per-month penalty is not to exceed 30 percent per year. Also, operating without a business license is a misdemeanor.

Another change include if you have a business in Myrtle Beach but you do not live inside city limits, you'll now have to pay double. The fee for your business license is now twice that of resident license rates.

According to the city's website, city leaders plan to conduct random checks. If you don't have the license displayed or readily available, you will be fined and could face charges. If you think something is wrong and you do not owe anything that you are being billed for, you have 15 days from the day they mail you the bill to apply for a reassessment.

If you have any questions you can call the Business License office at 843-918-1200. And click here for a link to the application form.

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