Philipsburg Town Council
January 18TH, 2024
At 9:00 am, Town Hall
Resort Tax Working Meeting.
Council in attendance: Carl Sunstrom, Jason White, Gary Fujinami, Scott Lyons, Lorraine Dell-Bishop, and John Laigaie. Council absent: Mayor Daniel Reddish. Others in attendance: Clerk Rachel Parret, Special Projects Maureen Connor, Shirley Beck, Dale Siegford, and Tom Rue.
Columbia Falls Resort Tax:
The Council finished going through the Columbia Falls Resort Tax.
Property Rentals – property rented for more than 31 days will not be taxed.
Medical – prescriptions, medical supplies, over the counter medication will not be taxed.
Gym Memberships – will be investigated further according to Montana statutes.
Dale Siegford suggested that gym membership be dropped if the membership is 30 days or more.
Councilman Sundstrom doesn’t think that gym memberships should be taxed.
Councilman Laigaie said that gym memberships should be considered under medical and not be taxed.
Funeral Directors – will not be taxed.
Groceries – Baby supplies, personal hygiene, and toilet paper will not be taxed.
Utilities, Auto Parts, Building Contractors, Computer Services, Vacuums, Floor Cleaners – will not be taxed.
Councilman Sundstrom said that Contractors in Town should be taxed.
Newspapers – will not be taxed.
Nonprofit Charitable Events – will not be taxed.
Charity Events – will not be taxed. Swag sold at the events possibly could be taxed.
Business Professional Services – will not be taxed.
-Bank fees, hairdressers, health club, house cleaning, insurance, interior decorators, laundry services, movers, storage units, photos, childcare, lawyers, engineers, real estate, school bus, shipping, taxidermy, ride sharing, travel agent, veterinarians, school supplies, office supplies, street legal motor vehicle, tires, wholesale goods
Dale Siegford said that the Resort Tax was put into place for West Yellowstone to be able to keep up their infrastructure to support all the tourists.
Shirley Beck said in 1986 the Resort Tax was implemented to help small communities with National Parks close to them. The communities need help with the over usage of their infrastructure. The Resort Tax was not intended to fix old infrastructure problems.
Remit of Tax:
Tax will be collected by the business to be remitted to the Town by the 20th of the Quarter that is due.
Duties and Responsibilities:
City Manager will enforce the collection of the Resort Tax and implement random audits.
Philipsburg does not have a City Manager.
Businesses can withhold 5% for administrative fees.
Records of Tax Forms:
Town will provide businesses with forms for tax remittances.
Records and forms will be confidential.
Businesses are to keep and preserve tax forms for 3 years.
Councilwoman Dell-Bishop asked Shirley Beck if the businesses are worried about their autonomy. Shirley replied that they are worried for their autonomy.
Special Project Maureen Connor said the Council should implement a policy that the Town would go to Court for records on non-payment or in case of the probable cause of payments not paid in full. The Town should not go through the business’ records without a Court judgment.
Shirley Beck said that legal recourse should be taken instead of the Council just randomly selecting businesses to submit their records.
Special Projects Maureen Connor said that audits are done by the IRS and through Court judgements.
Councilman Lyons said that he didn’t want future Councils to have the ability to go through business records over a dispute with an owner.
Councilman Sundstrom said that the Town’s auditor would be able to spot fudged numbers during the annual report.
Special Projects Maureen Connor said that Big Sky has a board for business audits. The audit must be agreed upon by the board and a professional auditor would conduct the audits.
Councilman Laigaie said that there is no reason to do random audits.
Dale Siegford said that as a business owner, that he would do his own audits.
Councilman Laigaie said that the Council is here to represent the business and support them.
Maureen Connor said that if a business is found in violation of not paying their taxes that the business will also incur all legal fees.
Shirley Beck stated that there should be probable cause for audits not random audits. Business should have the opportunity to appeal to the Council any occurred penalty fees.
Councilman Fujinami stated that the Council wants the smallest amount of Government as possible.
January 25th, 2024, from 9-10:30 am
-Red Lodge Resort Tax will be the discussion for the working meeting
Councilman Sundstrom made a motion to adjourn the meeting, Councilman Fujinami seconded the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.