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City of Pleas wants to know why I am making less money

Original post made by ptown consultant, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2013

I applied to renew my business license in Pleasanton - before the deadline of Jan. 31. I've done business in Pleasanton since 1996 as a science/engineering consultant. My business has been dropping off gradually over the last several years, mirroring the rest of the economy, and took a big dip last year.

The city's response was that they were putting my license on HOLD until I "provide explanation" as to low gross receipts. Am I out of line to think this is completely rude? I want to respond that unlike the person requesting this information, my job is not supported directly by taxpayers - therefore, it is subject to the ups and downs of the economy. Do I really need to explain that? Is there some minimum income in order to get a business license?

Comments (15)

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Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 4, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Minimum income or minimum disclosure of earnings? Sounds like somebody isn't being on the up and up with Mr. Taxman. You'd better get a good attorney, because I'm sure you're being watched at this very moment, and it's only a matter of time before they throw their net over you.

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Posted by ptown consultant
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 7:40 am

Phil - you are just as rude as they are. Makes me wonder - do you work for the city too?

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Posted by nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 10:03 am

Pleasanton, like all municipalities, charges for business licenses on a sliding scale based on annual gross sales. If over the years, your sales have grown and it is reflected in the "fee" you pay for your business license, should it not also be reflected in the "fee" you pay when your sales go down....ABSOLUTELY!

However, the city doesn't want to see their revenue go down, so now they will put you on the spot to prove it is true. A copy of P&L should suffice.

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Posted by Cya
a resident of Civic Square
on Feb 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I'm sure any of the surrounding cities would welcome your reduced gross receipts. I'd say adios to ptown.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Since the lower receipts are an obvious function of reduced custom, there doesn't seem much to explain - other than what the city is doing to improve your business environment.


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Posted by publius
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm

If practical, I think I would tell the city "good-bye" and take my business elsewhere. As others have commented, I am sure you would be welcomed in another city where honest hard working small business people are not presumed to be tax cheats. On another note, since when do we have to prove our innocence? If the Franchise Tax Board thinks you are cheating, let them go after you. In the absence of that, why don't they worry about their own house and answer to the taxpayer why taxes go up without a commensurate increase in services provided. This one sided thinking is proliferate throughout all levels of government.

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Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Slightly off topic --

My complaint with the Business License Department is they're only really interested in dinging the locals like P-Town consultant for the license money.

Every construction site has subcontractors and material suppliers from out of the area that are doing business in Pleasanton -- However, the city does not make any appreciable effort at making sure that these individuals, or companies, have a Business License to work in Pleasanton. I would be willing to bet that less than 10% of the contractors that worked on the recently completed shopping center on 580 had active local business licenses. Renovation construction is ongoing at Stoneridge and the same situation is present for the contractors and subcontractors working in that center. Zero Business License enforcement.

A couple of years ago I phoned the city to inquire about what their policy was about tracking down subcontractors without local Business Licenses that were working in Pleasanton. "We don't have the resources to go after them" was the response.

Things may have changed within the past couple of years, since revenues have been hard for cities to find. If so, I would love to hear it.

Good luck P-Town consultant -- I think if I were you I'd rent a PO Box in Dublin.

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Posted by Larry
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 6, 2013 at 8:59 am

I shut down a business in Fremont for the same reason, the revenue agents acted like I was the enemy. As it turns out, the FTB agent has to justify time spent on each case. The rules used are the rules they want to use. Unless you have ever sat at your desk, with one of these revenue agents on the other side, has no idea. So if your not a business owner, please do not even waste time posting on this issue.
I would move the business in an instant, not worth the hassle and they will always watch you to get even. Good luck to you and God bless.

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Posted by Small Business Owner
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 9:07 am

Yes I agree with some above, that if the City of Pleasanton doesn't appreciate your business, no matter how small, and will "Hold" your business license renewal as hostage, go get a P.O. Box in Dublin or other close town without further waisting your time. If they lift the "Hold" then you can have business licenses in both cities, which is pretty cheap ~

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Posted by Carlos
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 6, 2013 at 11:00 am

Be careful what you say. You may be reported to the Obama as an imminent threat.

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Posted by Reamed Again
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 11:50 am

Remember, these folks that are demanding you prove your diminished income are some of the trolls that are getting exhoritant salaries and benefits from you and other taxpayers. Doesn't it make you feel good? Get used to it. Now that Americans have re-elected Obama, the parasite-in-chief, as President, reaming taxpayers is going become the rule rather than the exception. In the coming election to fill a Pleasanton Council seat, folks might want to elect someone that is not a union slug and that will clip the wings of the municpal trolls.

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Posted by Say No to Naysayers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm

It's interesting that no matter which forum I check out there are more and more people bashing those employed by the government. I was once one of those people who felt that those who worked at taxpayer expense were somehow less intelligent, lazy, or who lacked real skills and education. It was difficult to apply for and accept a government job because of the stigma, but I have come to find out that the majority of people in government are actually more well-educated, intelligent and hard-working than those I worked with in the private sector. I worked for a number of Fortune 500 companies and there was more waste and inefficiency than I have experienced in public employment; they just made so much money that it didn't seem to matter how wasteful or inefficient they were. I wouldn't trade the sense of joy that I get daily in providing service to someone in need that is truly appreciative of the service, for more money, greed and negativity in the corporate world.

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Posted by ptown biz owner
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 6, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Phil, I don't think it's right for the city to be going after you on the reduced business license. I fail to see how the change in fees for an engineering consultancy will have any material impact on Pleasanton's finances and see no basis for them to essentially treat you as a suspected cheater. Pleasanton appears to have the luxury of too much money in any case. While other municipalities grapple with how to ensure basic law and order, Pleasanton's most pressing concerns are about replacing lightbulbs.

As for those of you using this forum (and pretty much all others) for another unfounded and unrelated anti-Obama rant, please get over yourselves and go message Fox news or someone who might care to listen for the next 4 years. Even better, take the time to educate yourself on the long degree of separation between local city and presidential politics. Most of us are just trying to work honestly and pay our bills, including our business licenses. The only reason Obama is president is because we voted for him and he is our democratically elected leader. Show some respect for him, the presidency, and yourselves.

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Posted by nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

@ptown biz owner


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Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm

You will love this story...I had a licensed contractor "disappear" from Pleasanton and CA leaving me with an unfinished job at my house. It took me several months (and into a new year) to find someone else to finish the job which entailed submitting a few small corrections to the building department to finalize and close out the job. Found out along the way, the architect has not been paid for his work from the original contractor (I had to pay him again - had already paid the contractor for that part of the job) to the tune of $1200 in order for him to correct the plans and send to the city. Then, the city infomed me that my project could not be finalized until the old contractor paid his license fee to the city. I explained that I could not reach him and had a new contrator to finish the job. The city said too bad, I needed to pay them the license fee the old contrator did not pay in order for my job to be finalized! They held me hostage to this and I finally relented and paid it. Yes, still sore about that but word to the wise, even after checking to make sure your contractor is licensed with the State of CA, be sure to check with our wonderful city that they are up to date on their license to work in Pleasanton or you will get stuck with their bill!!

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