City Manager John Russo is recommending that Alameda City Council hire Municipal Auditing Services to conduct an audit to identify unlicensed businesses within Alameda and bring them into compliance with business license and tax regulations, and collect back taxes.
The Fresno-based compliance and enforcement firm takes 40 percent of recovered taxes, so of the $151,000 expected to be collected, the company would take roughly $60,000 leaving the City of Alameda with $91,000 or 5 percent of the City of Alameda’s total annual business tax revenue.
Collecting back taxes is bound to create detractors. The sole Yelp review for Municipal Auditing Services is a negative one from April of this year.
In that review, Alvin E. of Convia, California, wrote, “This business sent me a letter stating that I owed 5 years back city taxes for the City of Covina, totalling $775 (First Notice). They said that I was a licensed real estate salesperson associated with a broker operating in the City of Covina, when I just use my friend’s smog shop for a mailing address. My broker is not even located in Covina. He is located in Rancho Cucamonga and I haven’t talked to him for years. I have not done any real estate transactions for years, and all the one’s I have done were in the Inland Empire.
“They asked me for my tax forms. I sent it to them, showing my Rowland Heights, CA address with all the computer work that I have been doing for the past 5 years. I am a computer technician that’s based out of Rowland Heights for the past 5 years. And they still insisted that I had to pay the City of Covina and gave me some strange reason why I still had to pay even though I had not been doing any real estate for years.
“I don’t know what’s up with these guys trying to squeeze money out of people in order to fill their pockets. They need to change their business practice. I don’t know what the world has come to if businesses like this try to force collect money from people for no reason at all.”
The matter comes before Alameda City Council next Tuesday, July 23rd.