Occupational Licenses or Business Tax Receipt (BTR) for Paralegals in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale
I am looking into this issue in Miami, a few people have said they called and were told that this only applies to paralegals who are working independently. When I called, I specifically asked about this and was told NO it applies to ALL paralegals. Also, why would law firms be getting notices if it doesn’t apply to paralegals working in law firms?? I have been in touch with the City and am awaiting the “official” answer, in writing, from a City official. As soon as I have that information, I will share it with everyone and we can move on to other issues relating to this matter.
Original Post 7/3/12:
This morning I received an e-mail from a fellow paralegal asking what I knew about occupational licenses for paralegals. Apparently, some firms have reported receiving visits from code enforcement looking to enforce this.
Several years ago, I became aware that the City of Miami had an occupational license for paralegals because an applicant was promoting his licensed status. At the time, I looked into it and found that an occupational license existed, but I never knew it was mandatory. I actually assumed it was for paralegals offering independent services etc. I asked around about it at the time, and no one seemed to know anything about it – no firms I knew obtained these licenses. I also e-mailed the Florida Bar about it, and am quite sure I was simply told that “an occupational license isn’t required by the Florida Bar to work as a paralegal in Florida”… This is back in 2009 or 2010 and I can’t locate the original e-mail, but I’ll see if I can find it when I get home tonight…
Anyway.. this brings me to the current situation… e-mails are now buzzing, it looks like paralegals may be required to have occupational licenses or BTRs just like attorneys… and if so… don’t you think already cash strapped municipalities are going to be happy to go door to door handing out violation notices?
Please share your experience with this issue. Does your firm obtain BTR or Occupational License for its paralegals? Did you know about this? Has your firm received a violation?
Here is some information I have gathered so far…
On July 3, 2012, I called the City of Miami’s Finance Department (350-416-1570) and was told that BTR (Business Tax Receipt) is required for all paralegals who work within the City of Miami.
Miami, Code of Ordinances, Article II, Local Business Tax > Sec. 31-50 – Amount of Tax to be Paid – Paralegals $116.00
Here is some additional information from the City of Miami: http://www.miamigov.com/Finance/pages/Licenses/licenses.asp
On July 3, 2012, I called the Nadia at the Business Tax Office (954-828-5195 Ext. 4) and was told that business taxes must be paid for “paralegals who are registered with the Florida Bar and are working within the City of Ft. Lauderdale“.
City of Ft. Lauderdale – Business Tax: http://ci.ftlaud.fl.us/business_tax/index.htm
Ft. Lauderdale Code of Ordinances, Article II, Local Business Tax > Sec. 15-57 – Amount of Tax to be Paid – Paralegals $157.50
The code can be viewed here: Ft. Lauderdale Municipal Code