(a) Duty to Enforce. It shall be the duty of the Director of Finance, and he is hereby directed, to enforce each and all of the provisions of this article and Article 1.5, and the Chief of Police shall render such assistance in the enforcement of this article and Article 1.5 as may from time to time be required by the Director of Finance.
(b) Inspection and Examination of Places of Business. The Director of Finance in the exercise of the duties imposed upon him, and acting through his deputies, shall inspect and examine all places of business in the City to ascertain whether or not the provisions of this article and Article 1.5 have been complied with.
(c) Audit and Examination of Records and Equipment. The Director of Finance and the City Controller, and deputies of each of them, shall have the power to audit and examine all books and records, and, where necessary, all equipment, of any person engaged in business in the City for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of business tax, sales or use tax, if any, required to be paid by the provisions hereof, and for the purpose of verifying the statements, or any item thereof, when filed by any taxpayer pursuant to the provisions of Secs. 21.13, 21.14 or 21.199, or Article 1.5. If such person, after written demand by the Director of Finance or City Controller, or a deputy of either, refuses to make available for audit, examination or verification such books, records or equipment as the Director of Finance, City Controller, or deputy of either, requests, the Director of Finance may, after full consideration of all information within his knowledge concerning the business and activities of the person so refusing, make an assessment in the manner provided in Sec. 21.16 of any taxes estimated to be due.
(d) Inspection of Registration Certificates, etc. The Director of Finance and all of his deputies shall have the power and authority to enter, free of charge, during business hours, any place of business required to be registered and taxed by the provisions of this article or Article 1.5, and to demand exhibition of a business registration certificate and sales or use tax permit and evidence of amount of tax paid. Any person having any such business tax registration certificate, or sales or use tax permit, heretofore issued in his possession or under his control who fails to exhibit the same as well as evidence of amounts of tax paid on demand shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to the penalty provided for by the provisions of this Code.
(e) Extensions of Time for Filing. The Director of Finance may upon receipt of the written request of a taxpayer, and for good cause, extend the time for filing any statement required under the provisions of Section 21.13, 21.14 or 21.199, or Article 1.5 for a period of not to exceed 45 days, provided that the time for filing the required statement has not already passed when the request is received. No penalty for delinquent payment shall accrue by reason of such extension if 90% or more of the total tax due is paid prior to the tax becoming delinquent. If less than 90% of the total tax due is paid prior to the tax becoming delinquent, a twenty percent (20%) penalty on any unpaid principal tax balance shall accrue. Interest shall accrue during said extension in the manner provided herein. (Amended by Ord. No. 176,160, Eff. 9/25/04.)
(f) Compromise of Claims. The Director of Finance, subject to the provisions of the Charter, may compromise a claim for business tax where the portion of the claim proposed to be released is equal to or less than the monetary limitations set forth in Section 22.13, as adjusted by the Controller in accordance with Subsection (e) of that section. Compromise of claims in excess of $15,000.00, requires the written approval of the City Attorney. The Director of Finance is further authorized to enter into releases of the approved compromises subject to the approval of the City Attorney. (Amended by Ord. No. 179,984, Eff. 8/3/08.)
(g) Minor Error in Payment. In the event a discrepancy exists between the amount of tax paid and the amount of tax due under this Article or Article 1.6, resulting in the underpayment or overpayment of the tax in an amount of $30.00 or less, the Director of Finance may accept and record the underpayment or overpayment without other notification to the taxpayer. (Amended by Ord. No. 181,860, Eff. 9/29/11.)
(h) Rules and Regulations – Apportionment. The Director of Finance may make such rules and regulations as are not inconsistent with the provisions of this article or Article 1.5 as may be necessary or desirable to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this article and Article 1.5. When, by reason of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of California, the business tax imposed by this article cannot be enforced without there being an apportionment according to the amount of business done in the City of Los Angeles, or in the State of California, as the case may be, the Director of Finance may make such rules and regulations for the apportionment of the tax as are necessary or desirable to overcome the constitutional objections. Such rules and regulations shall be approved by the City Attorney prior to becoming effective.
(i) Deficiency Determinations. If the Director of Finance is not satisfied that any statement filed as required under the provisions of this article or Article 1.5 of Chapter 2 of this Code is correct, or that the amount of tax is correctly computed, he may compute and determine the amount to be paid and make a deficiency determination upon the basis of the facts contained in the statement or upon the basis of any information in his possession or that may come into his possession. One or more deficiency determinations of the amount of tax due for a period or periods may be made. When a person discontinues engaging in a business, a deficiency determination may be made at any time within three years thereafter as to any liability arising from engaging in such business whether or not a deficiency determination is issued prior to the date the tax would otherwise be due. Whenever a deficiency determination is made, a notice shall be given to the person concerned in the same manner as notices of assessment are given under Sec. 21.16.
(j) Payments, etc., Made by Mail. Whenever any payment, statement, report, request or other communication received by the Director of Finance is received after the time prescribed by this article or Article 1.5 for the receipt thereof, but is in an envelope bearing a postmark showing that it was mailed prior to the time prescribed in this article or Article 1.5 for the receipt thereof, or whenever the Director of Finance is furnished substantial proof that the payment, statement, report, or request for other communication was in fact deposited in the United States mail prior to the time prescribed for receipt thereof, the Director of Finance may regard such payment, statement, report, request or other communication as having been timely received.
(k) Earthquake Related Extension. Upon the receipt on or before August 31, 1994 of the written request of a taxpayer showing that such taxpayer’s business has been impacted by the earthquake of January 17, 1994 to the extent of preventing the filing of any statement required under the provisions of Sections 21.13 or 21.14 or Article 1.11 of this Code or the payment of any tax required in connection therewith for such business prior to the delinquency date, the Director of Finance shall extend the delinquency date for filing any such statement and paying any such tax for such business to September 1, 1994. No penalty or interest shall accrue prior to September 1, 1994 by virtue of such extension of the delinquency date. The relief provided in this subsection shall be an alternative to the relief provided in Subsection (e) of this section and not in addition thereto, and shall be applicable only to annual taxes due in 1994. (Amended by Ord. No. 169,853, Eff. 7/4/94, Oper. 2/28/94.)
(l) Requirement of Payments by Electronic Funds Transfer. All tax payments in the amount of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more shall be paid via a financial institution's electronic funds transfer. (Added by Ord. No. 176,160, Eff. 9/25/04.)
(m) Credit Card Transaction Fee for On-line Payment. Every person who files their renewal online and pays their business tax with a credit card shall pay a transaction fee in the amount of $3.00. The purpose of this fee is to offset a portion of the administrative costs incurred by the City for those transactions. (Added by Ord. No. 180,358, Eff. 12/20/08.)
(n) Public Disclosure of Tax Delinquencies. (Added by Ord. No. 180,378, Eff. 1/4/09.)
(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Director of the Office of Finance shall make available as a matter of public record each calendar quarter a list of the largest 250 tax delinquencies in excess of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) under this part. For purposes of compiling the list, a "tax delinquency" means an amount owed to the City of Los Angeles as to which all of the following apply:
(A) That has been submitted to the Director of Finance for a finding that the delinquent tax is unpaid and the administrative process has been completed pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 21.16.
(B) The amount of tax has been delinquent for more than ninety (90) days.
(C) For purposes of the list, a tax delinquency does not include any delinquency that would be uncollectible by operation of law.
(ii) Each quarterly list shall include all of the following with respect to each delinquency:
(A) The name of the person or persons liable for payment of the tax and the person's or persons' last known business address.
(B) The amount of tax delinquency as shown on the notice or notices of the tax delinquency and any applicable interest or penalties, less any amounts paid.
(C) The type of tax that is delinquent.
(iii) Prior to making a tax delinquency a matter of public record as required by this section, the Director of Finance shall provide a preliminary written notice to the person or persons liable for the tax by certified mail, return receipt requested, demanding payment of the amount owed and informing the person or persons that nonpayment may result in the tax delinquency being made a matter of public record. If within 30 days after issuance of the notice, the person or persons do not remit the amount due or make arrangements with the Director of Finance for payment of the amount due, the tax delinquency shall be included on the list.
(iv) The quarterly list described in subsection (n)(i) shall include the telephone number and address of the Office of Finance in order to provide a point of contact if a person believes the placement of his or her name on the list is in error.
(v) A person whose delinquency appears on the quarterly list, and who satisfies that delinquency in whole or in part, may request the Director of Finance to include in the quarterly list any payments that person made to satisfy the delinquency. Upon receipt of that request, the Director of Finance may include those payments on the list as promptly as feasible.
(o) Liens for Unpaid Taxes. (Added by Ord. No. 181,238, Eff. 9/12/10.)
(i) The amount of any tax, interest and penalty imposed by this Chapter shall be deemed a debt to the city. If the tax is not paid when due, such tax, penalty and interest shall be a lien against the taxpayer's property for the amount thereof, which lien shall continue until the amount thereof including all penalties and interest are paid, or until it is discharged of record.
(ii) The Director of Finance may record liens against property to collect unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties upon the exhaustion of the administrative process to determine the amount of such liabilities under this Chapter. Such liens may be recorded against real property used in connection with activities that generated the tax liability or against personal property used in connection with activities that generated the tax liability. Such liens shall be recorded according to applicable law in the jurisdiction in which the property is located.
(iii) Prior to recording a lien for unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties, the Director of Finance shall provide a report requesting approval of the lien to the City Council, with the taxpayer's name, amount of tax, interest, and penalties owed, and the tax periods for which taxes will be collected. The report shall be referred by the City Clerk to the full City Council without referral to any Council Committee, and duly placed upon the agenda of the City Council. No request for approval of a lien shall be made to the City Council unless the City Attorney has determined that a sufficient basis exists to support the liability and that assets exist to which the liability could attach. The Director of Finance shall provide at least 15 days notice of the hearing before the City Council to the taxpayer by mailing a copy of the report to the address contained in the most recent records of the Office of Finance. Notice shall be deemed complete at the time of deposit in the United States mail. (Amended by Ord. No. 182,111, Eff. 5/29/12.)
(iv) Upon a majority vote by the City Council to approve the recordation of lien(s), the Director of Finance or his designee may record in the proper office a certificate which specifies the amount of tax, interest and penalties due, the name and last known address of the person liable for the same, a statement that the Director of Finance has determined the correct amount to be paid and a legal description of the property owned by the taxpayer to which the lien applies. From the time of the recording of the certificate, the amount required to be paid together with interest and penalties constitutes a lien upon all property to which the lien can attach and to property owned by the taxpayer used in connection with activities subject to taxation under this Chapter. The lien has the force, effect and priority of a state tax lien and shall continue for ten (10) years from the filing of the certificate unless sooner released or otherwise discharged, or unless a term is otherwise provided by applicable law.