Council to vote on taxing home-based businesses


Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to vote on a new business registration fee that would hit thousands of home-based businesses and holders of state-issued professional service licenses.

City staff has sought the new tax regime for over a year, saying it would make it easier to analyze data about commercial real estate and local businesses and would “improve communication” with businesses.

Based on registration data maintained by the state, city officials estimate there are 2,500 home based businesses in the city and another 1,400 holders of state-issued professional service licenses that are not required to have city licenses.

Under the scheme home-based businesses would have to pay $25 a year to operate in the city and firms renting commercial space would pay $50.

Non-profit organizations would be exempt from the fees.

Currently about 520 businesses are licensed in Evanston, paying fees of $75 to $250, depending on the amount of space they occupy. Under the proposal they would no longer be licensed, but would be part of the registration scheme instead and pay just $50 a year.

A staff memo estimates that the new scheme would triple the amount of money the city brings in from business registation fees.

The plan would continue to have about 400 food service establishments licensed by the Health Department.

If approved by aldermen, city staff intend to require payment of the new fees starting in January.

Related stories

Chamber backs new small business tax (7/24/19)

City plans to tax thousands of home-based businesses (7/2/19)

EDC backs new tax on small businesses (9/27/18)

Home-based businesses may face new city fee (9/26/18)

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