Section 45-13-120Compensation; election; oath and bond; office space, equipment; chief clerk; powers and duties; issuance of licenses; disposition of funds.
(a)(1) Effective October 1, 1991, there is hereby created the office of commissioner of licenses. The salary of the commissioner of licenses shall be in the amount of thirty-six thousand dollars ($36,000) annually. The annual salary shall be payable in equal biweekly installments from the general funds of the county, as all other county employees are paid.
(2) The office of commissioner of licenses shall be established upon the occurrence of a vacancy before October 1, 1991, in either the office of tax assessor or tax collector, then, in that event, the officer remaining after the office of revenue commissioner is established, shall be the license commissioner for the remainder of the unexpired term for which he or she was elected as either tax assessor or as tax collector, as the case may be, and the license commissioner shall be appointed by the Governor for the remainder of the term.
(3) A license commissioner shall be elected in the primaries and general election of 1990, and in the general election each six years thereafter. The commissioner of licenses shall serve for a term of office of six years from the first day of October next succeeding his or her election and until his or her successor is similarly elected, qualified, and takes office. Vacancies in the office shall be filled as provided for by the Code of Alabama 1975, for filling vacancies in the tax assessor's and tax collector's offices.
(b) Before entering upon the duties of office, the commissioner of licenses shall take the oath of office prescribed by the constitution, and enter into bond in such sum as may be required by the Code of Alabama 1975, giving as surety thereon a bonding company authorized to do business in this state. The bond shall be conditioned as other official bonds are conditioned and shall be approved by the state Comptroller and filed with the judge of probate of the county.
(c) Suitable office space and all stationery, equipment, and supplies necessary for the conduct of the office shall be furnished by the county commission to the commissioner of licenses except such stationery and supplies as the law now requires to be furnished by the State Department of Revenue or the State Department of Finance or the state Comptroller.
(d) The commissioner of licenses herein provided for shall appoint a chief clerk who shall, in his or her absence, have the power and authority herein granted to the commissioner of licenses. The commissioner of licenses shall also appoint a license inspector and a sufficient number of clerks and assistants to properly perform the duties of his or her office; however, all such appointments shall be made in strict conformity with the provisions of the civil service or merit system law of the county, and the commissioner of licenses shall be deemed to be the appointing authority within the meaning of any civil service or merit system law. The salary of the chief clerk and all other clerks so appointed shall be set by the county commission.
(e) It shall be the duty of the commissioner of licenses to collect and issue all licenses for exercising any rights or privileges for which a license is required, including, but not limited to, hunting licenses, driver's licenses, licenses for motor vehicles, and any and all other licenses which are now or which may hereafter be required by law to be paid to the State of Alabama or the counties thereof, except marriage licenses which shall continue to be issued by the judge of probate.
(f) Before any person, firm, or corporation shall engage in or carry on any business or do any act in any county to which this section applies for which a license is required by law, he, she, they, or it, except as otherwise provided, shall pay to the commissioner of licenses the amount required for such licenses, and shall comply with all the other requirements of this section; and upon the payment of such amount to the commissioner of licenses for the issuance of such license, and all costs and fees and penalties which shall have accrued, or for which such person, firm, or corporation shall have become liable in any proceedings commenced for the collection of each such license or to enforce payment thereof, and upon compliance with all other provisions of this section by the applicant, such commissioner of licenses shall issue the license countersigned by him or her, in the form and on the blank to be furnished by the state Comptroller, which shall set forth and specify the name of the person, firm, or corporation, applying therefor, the business or act which it is proposed to carry on or do thereunder, the name of the street or location where it is reported to carry on the same, if such location shall be in a city or town and have a street number, and if not, then the location and amount paid for each such license, and the time for which it is issued; and if the license is for a peddler it shall state whether he or she proposes to travel on foot or on horseback or on wagon or motor vehicle; and such license shall not be transferable, nor shall it entitle the holder thereof to carry on any other business or do any other act than that named therein, nor at any other location than that therein specified. Provided, that in case that it should become necessary to remove any business for which a license is required by this subsection, from one location to another location in the same city or town, and such business be continued as the same kind and character and by the same person or firm as that carried on at the former location, another license shall not be required for such business for the same license year.
(g) In all cases where the amount to be paid for license depends upon the amount of capital invested or the value of the goods or stock, or the amount of sales, or receipts, or any other fact or condition hereinbefore recited, it shall be the duty of the person applying for such license to render to the commissioner of licenses a sworn statement of the amount of the capital invested, of the value of the goods or stock, or of the amount of sales or receipts, and to make under oath such further proof or affidavit as may be required by the commissioner of licenses to determine the character of the license, and the amount to be paid for the same.
(h) Upon the issuance of any license the commissioner of licenses must before detaching the license from the stub, fill up the blank spaces in the stub to correspond in all respects, with the licenses as issued, and sign his or her name thereto.
(i) The commissioner of licenses shall keep in a book prepared for that purpose an accurate account of all licenses received by him or her from the Comptroller, and of the disposition made of them, and of all money received from licenses issued by him or her, and make receipt thereof to the Comptroller within 20 days after the expiration of the fiscal year, at which time he or she shall return to the Comptroller all unused licenses, and shall also return to the Comptroller the stubs of all licenses issued by him or her and the commissioner of licenses shall on demand of the Comptroller, at any time, exhibit to the Comptroller or to any agent appointed by the Comptroller for that purpose, such license record and the original of all licenses then remaining in his or her hands, and all stubs of licenses issued.
(j) All fees prescribed under the general law for the performance of duties required under the terms of this section to be performed by the commissioner of licenses shall be paid to or collected by the commissioner of licenses and by the commissioner paid to the treasurer of the county or to the official performing the duties of county treasurer, and all of the fees shall be the property of the county.
(k) If any person through a mistake or error on the part of the commissioner of licenses has paid to the commissioner of licenses money that was not due for such license, or by such mistake has paid to the commissioner of licenses for such license an amount in excess of that required by law for the business to be carried on by such person under the license, such person shall be entitled to have refunded to him or her the amount in either event so erroneously collected by the commissioner of licenses; provided, no refund shall be made unless application therefor is made within two years from date of payment.
(l) On the application of any such person, or his or her executor, administrator, or assignee, the commissioner of licenses shall proceed to ascertain the amount due such applicant under the provisions of subsection (k), and shall grant such certificate as will enable the Comptroller and the county governing body to draw his or her warrant or their order, respectively, and such warrant or order shall be paid out of any moneys in the State Treasury, or the county treasury, not otherwise appropriated.
(m) To prevent motor vehicles from escaping taxation and to provide for the more efficient assessment and collection of taxes due on same, no license shall be issued to operate a motor vehicle on the public highways of this state, nor shall any transfer be made by the commissioner of licenses as provided under this section until the ad valorem tax on such vehicle shall have been paid in the county for the preceding year, as evidenced by a receipt of the commissioner of licenses, if the motor vehicle belongs to a resident of such county or is principally used or operated in such county. Every person, firm, or corporation residing in or owning a motor vehicle which is principally used in such county who desires to operate a motor vehicle on the public highways of Alabama shall first return such motor vehicle for ad valorem taxation to the commissioner of licenses of such county, for the preceding tax year, and the commissioner of licenses of such county shall deliver to such person who makes the return as herein required, a certificate of assessment on a form prescribed by the Department of Revenue, and such certificate shall be the warrant of the commissioner of licenses to collect the tax as shown thereon. Motor vehicles within the meaning of this section shall not be included in any assessment made to the tax assessor by any person, firm, or corporation, and such motor vehicles shall not be considered as escaped property by reason of failure to include same in any tax return, but shall be assessed as herein provided. The commissioner of licenses upon issuing a license for the operator of motor vehicles as herein provided shall make a duplicate of the tax receipt and keep same on file in his or her office. The license tag shall be evidence of the payment of the license and ad valorem tax due as provided under this section. Valuation for ad valorem assessment shall not be more than 30 percent of the fair and reasonable value of same. A motor vehicle brought into the state during any tax year or new motor vehicles for which licenses have never been issued, sold from the stock of a dealer during any tax year shall be subject to taxation the same as if it had been held or owned in the state on the first day of October, except that taxes thereon shall be assessed on a quarterly declining basis. Every motor vehicle shall be presumed to have been in Alabama during the taxable year and taxes thereon shall be assessed unless the person, firm, or corporation applying for exemption from ad valorem taxation furnishes the commissioner of licenses with a certificate showing that such vehicle was registered in another state after the preceding October, such certificate to be signed by the proper official of such state and also an affidavit signed by the person, or in the case of a firm, association, or corporation its authorized agent, claiming the exemption, stating the exact date the car came into Alabama provided, however, that where application is made for exemption from taxation on a new motor vehicle for which there has never been a tag purchased, a bona fide bill of sale showing the date of purchase shall be sufficient proof for exemption by the commissioner of licenses provided the date of purchase, the name and address of the dealer, and the invoice number is shown on the assessment sheet. The State Department of Revenue shall furnish the commissioner of licenses with blank certificates for claiming exemptions authorized in this subsection. The commissioner of licenses is authorized to issue a motor vehicle license for any vehicle for which an exemption from taxation has been claimed as authorized above, and for any vehicle which is not subject to taxation. The commissioner of licenses, in addition to assessing and collecting the ad valorem taxes due the state and county on motor vehicles, shall collect the ad valorem taxes on motor vehicles due all cities and towns located in the county. The commissioner of licenses shall report and pay over the money collected for the cities and towns at the same time and in the same manner as state and county taxes are reported and paid over by him or her. The commissioner of licenses shall receive a commission of five percent for collecting city and town ad valorem taxes and shall deduct the commissions from the amount collected before paying the same over to the city or town, and shall pay the commissions into the county treasury, and the commissions so collected and paid into the county treasury, shall not issue a license to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of this state until all ad valorem taxes due the state, such county, and any city or town in such county are paid for the preceding year. Nothing herein shall be construed as affecting the assessment of the stock of goods, wares, and merchandise of motor vehicle dealers, or the inclusion of motor vehicles or capital invested therein making such assessments; nor shall the provisions hereof be construed as imposing an ad valorem tax upon a motor vehicle for the tax year in which application for such motor vehicle license is made, unless such motor vehicle was subject to such assessment, otherwise than as constituting a part of the stock of goods, wares, and merchandise of a dealer.
(n) The state Comptroller is hereby required to furnish to such license commissioner all books, records, and blanks, now or hereafter required by law to be furnished to the judges of probate of the state in connection with the performance of their duties in the issuance or collection of licenses or privilege taxes.
(o) All duties required by law of probate judges in this state, with reference to the issuance of and collection of state, county, and other licenses except marriage licenses, shall be performed by the commissioner of licenses, and the commissioner of licenses shall be entitled to collect all fees, commissions, charges, and allowances fixed by law, except as otherwise herein provided, for judges of probate respecting the issuance and collection of licenses; and he or she shall be liable to all the pains and penalties, with reference to the collection of such licenses imposed on the judges of probate in this state, and the judge of probate of the county is relieved from any and all duties, liabilities, and responsibilities now imposed by law for the collection of licenses in the county.
(p) All duties required by law of tax assessors and tax collectors with reference to the assessment and collection of ad valorem taxes on automobiles, trucks, or other motor vehicles shall be performed and exercised by the commissioner of licenses, including, but not limited to, the casual sales tax on vehicles now collected by the tax collector, and the tax assessor and tax collector of any county to which this section applies are hereby relieved of all duties and responsibilities in reference thereto.
(q) The commissioner of licenses shall receive for the assessing and collecting of state and county ad valorem taxes on motor vehicles the same fees, charges, and commissions fixed by law to be paid to tax assessors and tax collectors for the like services and paid into the general fund of the county, except as otherwise herein provided.
(Act 87-470, p. 710, §§1-17.)