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Leaving Ada, with permission of course

Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin

Leaving Boise City for the mountains of nearby Garden Valley seemed like a good plan, and easy enough. Sell, buy, move. However, as a very small business owner, me only, I overlooked one thing – I didn’t get permission to leave Ada County.

First came a “Demand Tax Payment – Personal Property or Manufactured Home,” notice in the mail to my new home. Demand? Hmm, I must be late or have overlooked a payment. Nope, paid up and not yet time for the 2009 final.

I don’t own a manufactured home so it must be something else – I knew actually. What is called “Personal” property is nothing of the sort, it is my business property. I use a desk, chair, computer, printer, and cabinet. My business property tax due? $13.26.

But I take issue with “Demand” letters so I would call and ask questions. Great, no phone number on the “Demand” document. OK, it’s 2009, I’ll get on line and fix this. No website referenced on the “Demand” document. Ada County does not make it very easy.

There was however the address for mailing in your money – Ada County Tax Collector. So I got online with Ada County and there was no Tax Collector office, link or reference anywhere to be found (There is now). There was no contact information or any reference to a Tax Collector.

But I persevered, picked up the phone and called Ada County, explaining my plight. I visited with three different employees and was generally told the “Demand” document was because I had moved my business from Ada County without permission. Interesting. I had moved my home, but how did they know I had moved my business? They assumed. Okay. They were right but assumptions are pretty sloppy government.

Visiting with the Ada County folks I finally got the story – I must first have permission to move my business out of Ada. Hence the “Demand” notice. I then made the rookie mistake of asking just how I would know I had to have permission to move? “You are a business owner and it is your responsibility to know the law.” Point taken.

But I am pretty small beans and it seems that a notice to verify moving and a tax statement would suffice for the first go around. Regardless, I was transferred to the Assessor’s office and I properly told the woman I was calling to ask permission to move my business out of the county. “What?” I told her again. Then I explained. She laughed and it turns out I really didn’t need permission – go figure.

Anyway, I made certain they had all of my new information, that they knew I had moved my business, and that I was formally seeking permission after the fact. All done. I mailed in my $13.26.

In January, 2010, I received a Personal Property Declaration from the Ada County Assessor. I corrected all of the items and sent it back with a nice letter asking why I have to declare my Boise County business property as Ada County personal property. Three months and I have not yet received a reply.

I think I am safely out of Ada, but not certain. A new demand letter could come any day. Bring it on, I have $13.00 in the bank and my checkbook in hand.

About Michael Tomlin