Bonedaddy's of Lee Branch, LLC v. City of BirminghamAnnotate this Case
The City of Birmingham sued "Bonedaddy's of Lee Branch" for failing to pay its business-license taxes, occupational taxes, interest, penalties and fees for multiple years since the business' formation in 2007. The City alleged that the defendants had failed and refused to submit business records and tax returns for the periods that were the subject of the complaint; that the defendants were currently engaged in business in the City of Birmingham in violation of the City's business-license code; and that notice of the final tax assessments had been mailed but that no payments had been forthcoming. The City asked the trial court to enter a preliminary injunction directing the defendants to refrain from further conducting business within the City and causing the sheriff to padlock the defendants' place of business in the City. The trial court ultimately granted the City's request, and Bonedaddy's was prohibited from further business until its back-taxes were paid. Cowan and Bonedaddy's argued on appeal that the trial court did not have subject-matter jurisdiction to enter a final judgment against defendant John Cowan in this case because, they say, the City did not comply with certain provisions of the Alabama Taxpayers' Bill of Rights and Uniform Revenue Procedures Act. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the City had issued a final sales-tax assessment against Bonedaddy's. The notice of final assessment, however, did not name Cowan individually as the taxpayer nor was the notice mailed to Cowan. Additionally, the City did not present any evidence at trial to indicate that it had ever issued a final sales-tax assessment against Cowan per se. Based on the evidence presented at trial, it did not appear that the City complied with the requirements of the TBOR with regard to Cowan. The Court reversed the trial court with respect to Cowan's responsibility to pay Bonedaddy's outstanding sale taxes, but affirmed with regard to the tax assessments against Bonedaddy's itself.