Frequently Used Terms
(Please note: This is intended to provide general definitions only, and is not intended to replace any legal definitions set forth in federal, state, or local laws.)
For a more complete list and detailed description of business terms, please visit the Business Encyclopedia.
1. Accommodations Tax - A tax charged in association with staying in rooms, lodgings, or accommodations.
2. Audit - A visit to a business by an Auditor for the purpose of confirming the accuracy of reported financial data used to calculate all the applicable fees and taxes required by the Richland County Codes in order to lawfully operate the business.
3. Business - A calling, occupation, profession, or activity engaged in with the object of gain, benefit, or advantage, either directly or indirectly. This includes all types of business organizations. A charitable organization shall be deemed a business unless the entire proceeds of its operation are devoted to charitable purposes. (See “Charitable organization” below.)
4. Business Personal Property Tax - A local tax on the appraised value of business machinery, equipment, furniture, and fixtures. Value of assets must be filed with the County or the State Department of Revenue every year by April 15. Bills are then sent by the County Auditor’s Office in October and are due to the Treasurer’s Office in mid-January of each year.
5. Charitable Organization - An organization which meets at least any one of the following criteria:
- Determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be a tax exempt organization pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or
- That is or holds itself out to be established for any benevolent, social welfare, scientific, educational, environmental, philanthropic, humane, patriotic, public health, civic, or other eleemosynary purpose, or for the benefit of law enforcement personnel, firefighters, or other persons who protect the public safety; or
- That employs a charitable appeal as the basis of solicitation or an appeal that suggests that there is a charitable purpose to a solicitation, or that solicits or obtains contributions solicited from the public for a charitable purpose.
6. Community Care Home - A business located within a residential area, usually in a home which provides shelter and care for at least two and no more than nine (9) unrelated members of a vulnerable population, including the elderly, the physically or mentally disabled, the very ill, troubled youths, or recently released inmates. Any Community Care Home must complete an application for a Community Residential Care Facility (found online) and also receive County Council approval prior to applying for a business license in order to operate the business.
7. Charitable Purpose - Benevolent, philanthropic, patriotic, or eleemosynary purpose which does not result in personal gain to a sponsor, organizer, officer, director, trustee, or person with ultimate control of the organization. A charitable organization shall be deemed a business subject to a license tax unless the entire net proceeds of its operation, after necessary expenses, are devoted to charitable purposes. Compensation in any form to a sponsor, organizer, officer, director, trustee, or person with ultimate control of the organization shall not be deemed a necessary expense of operation.
8. Classification - The separation of businesses by major groups for calculating a business license rate. Classifications are based upon Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes or North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes. These are based upon federal surveys of industry profitability, and are used by many municipalities in South Carolina and promoted in the Municipal Association's Model Business License Ordinance.
9. Deductions - A lawful reduction in gross income upon which a business license fee is charged.
10. Exemptions - There are three different types of exemptions, distinguished by the source of the exemption. State law, federal law, and County ordinances all provide different types of exemptions. For a precise understanding of any of these exemptions, please refer to the appropriate law which established the exemption. Exempt businesses can be required to obtain a business license. However, there will be no fee associated with obtaining this business license.
11. Gross Income The total revenue of a business, received or accrued, for one calendar year collected or to be collected by a business within the county, except for income from interstate commerce or from business done entirely outside of Richland County on which a license tax is paid to some other county or municipality and fully reported to the county. The gross income for business license purposes shall conform to the gross income reported to the IRS (Sec. 61 of the IRS Code for income tax purposes), or shall conform to the gross income reported to the state insurance commission, without deductions. In the case of brokers or agents, gross income shall mean gross commission retained.
12. Hazardous Materials - All materials which are highly flammable, or which may react to cause fires or explosions, or which by their presence create or augment a fire or explosion hazard, or which because of the toxicity, flammability, or liability of explosion render fire fighting, rescue or public safety operations abnormally dangerous or difficult, or create a threat to public health, safety or the environment. These materials are regulated by Chapter 13 of the Richland County Codes of Ordinances.
13. Hospitality Tax - A tax on the sales of prepared meals and beverages sold in establishments or sales of prepared meals and beverages sold in establishments licensed for on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages, beer, or wine, within the incorporated municipalities and the unincorporated areas of the County, the revenues of which are dedicated to improving services and facilities for tourists. The amount of the tax will depend upon the municipality in which the establishment is located.
14. Inspections - A visit to a business by an Inspector for the purpose of confirming compliance with all applicable licenses and permits required by the Richland County Codes in order to lawfully operate the business.
15. Itinerants - A person or business with no fixed principal place of business within Richland County and yet doing business within the unincorporated area of the county. This is the same as a nonresident business.
16. Jurisdiction - An area governed by a locally elected governing body, such as a city, town, county, state, etc.
17. Nonresident - A person or business with no fixed principal place of business within Richland County and yet doing business within the unincorporated area of the county. This is the same as an itinerant business.
18. Peddlers - A person or business offering goods for sale from door-to-door, or on the streets by outcry, or by attracting the attention of persons by exposing goods in a public place, or by placards, labels, or signals. (Peddling is different from "soliciting.")
19. Precious Metal permit - A permit required to be obtained by any person or business selling any article made in whole or in part of gold, silver, or platinum, or precious or semi-precious stones.
20. Precious metal dealer - Any person, corporation, or partnership who buys precious metal or precious or semiprecious stones or gems from the general public, whether in bulk or in manufactured form, with an intent to obtain a monetary profit for himself or for a principal
21. Precious or semiprecious stones or gems - Precious gemstones include rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds.
22. Prepared foods and beverages - Prepared meals and beverages are products sold ready for consumption either on or off premises in businesses classified as eating and drinking places under the Standard Industrial Code Classification Manual, and including lunch counters and restaurant stands; drinking places operated as a subordinate service facility by other establishments; bars and restaurants owned by and operated for members of civic, social, and fraternal associations.
23. Sexually oriented business - A business whose type of business can be categorized as an adult arcade, adult bookstore or adult video store, adult cabaret, adult motel, adult motion picture theater, adult theater, escort agency, nude model studio, or sexual encounter center, as defined in Section 26-151(c)(53) of the Richland County Code governing these types of businesses.
24. Solicitation Permit - A permit required of a person or business wishing to request money, credit, property, financial assistance, or other thing of value, or a portion of it, to be used for a charitable purpose or to benefit a charitable organization. A solicitation takes place whether or not the person making the request receives a contribution.