Facebook On-Line Sales A Taxing Issue In Moulton

MOULTON, Ala. (WHNT) – At what point does a business become a business? If you log onto a Facebook page and sell something to someone, are you a business? That question is causing issues for city leaders in Moulton. Members of a Facebook auction site have been meeting in Moulton to deliver the merchandise they sell on-line. But now they’re learning they may need a business license and have to collect sales taxes for the group to continue.

There are thousands of on-line auction sites on Facebook, but one of them has come to the attention of Moulton city officials. Lawrence County Auction Action has about 4,900 members who sell things to each other. Used clothing, mostly, with an occasional piece of costume jewelry, furniture, maybe even an old typewriter.

“We never dreamed it would get this big,” says one of the site’s administrator Joyce Craig. She says the buyers and sellers have been meeting up in Moulton for about an hour on Saturday mornings to deliver what has been purchased that week. But meeting in town, in parking lots like this one, brings the group under the city’s sales and revenue ordinances.

Craig says she met with Mayor Ray Alexander and was shocked to learn her group needed a business license and should pay taxes on the sales.

“It does say in there that to deliver within the city limits you have to have some type of license to deliver,” Craig told WHNT News 19.

We spoke with Mayor Alexander here in Moulton Wednesday afternoon. He tells us they are looking for a solution but haven’t found it yet. He says there are no precedents they’ve been able to find that would help guide them. The challenge, Alexander says, is to find a solution that will not only keep people coming into Moulton but at the same time not upset the brick and morter stores in town that buy business licenses and pay taxes.

Craig says she understands the city’s position but argues it’s Facebook. Its free to join the group, free to post your items, and she says she does not collect a dime from any of the sales. She says she hopes the city can find a way to work out the issues, but in the meantime they’ll just go somewhere else.

Craig says the city did offer to allow the group to meet in town this coming Saturday, but says they’ve already found another site for now. Lawrence County Board of Education officials confirmed they have given the group permission to meet up at Speake Elementary School, on a trial basis.

9 comments

  • Anthony Laster

    so they start meeting outside of moulton and they loose the money some of these people spend while they are in town

  • John Sanford

    I agree I’m part of this group when we meet in moulton I fill up my truck go to the groc store and my family of 5 go out to eat usually spending 250.-300 dollars but I my self will be going else where since I won’t be goin to moulton on sat

  • DeeAnna Williams-South

    that story was a joke. just like the newspaper story. they pointed out nothing. they didn’t mention the facts at all. like there are more then one group meeting in moulton. most of the group are from out of town an spend money on gas, groc. food/lunch. ect. after the meetings on sat. this group has done lots of charity work for moulton, no one bothers to mention these things.

  • DeeAnna Williams-South

    oh and btw most business’ were more then happy to let us meet in their parking lot, they knew it brought then business from our group and free advertising !! an as far as the thrift stores in the area they aren’t complaining either most of them sell on the site every week too!

  • Tracey Lewis Briscoe

    This is absolutely CRAZY!!!!! Its like Taxing a Yard Sale!!!! I mean really people are getting rid of USED clothes like a yardsale to clean out their houses :( If this happens then they will tax you for donating in the future I mean after all you get a TAX Deduction Form for that right…. You need a Business/Sales Licence if you sale to make a living not to clean out your house & make a little EXTRA CASH that is a HOBBY so I guess you need a HOBBY Licence???? If anything you will need a YARDSALE PERMIT so I guess you need a HOBBY Licence Grrrrrrr….. This is really losing Moulton Business!!!!!!!!!! Thank You SPEAKE for the Support of TEAM LCAA!!!!! :) Deanna is right they don’t mention about all the Charity That They Have Raised For Moulton… Yes there are more then one group meeting in moulton why only LCAA :(

  • Wake Up

    Like Mit Romney said, businesses are people!! They have all the same personal rights that you and I have.

  • Sonja Barber Peyton

    I run one of those “brick and mortar” thrift stores in Moulton. I am also a proud member of the LCAA as well as the other local auction sites. I LOVE IT! I don’t usually sell but, I buy on a regular basis.I will admit that I have been told by other business owners that the auction has decreased our business. However, I choose to look at the auction in a positive light. I have met some really wonderful people. I have also been involved with raising money for several very worth local causes. Currently, I am involved with the group’s effort to raise money for cancer research through the upcoming relay for life. LCAA has done a lot of good for this county and has brought a lot of Saturday morning business to the gas stations and the restaurants. I think it’s sad for the group and for the City of Moulton that we have to take our auction somewhere else. OH Well, where ever they go, I will follow.

  • Rebecca

    Like many above I am a Member/Admin of Team LCAA, as we approach our 1 year Anniversary on March 7th and agree with Mrs Craig. As one of very only 3-4 for the very first meet we have Grown this past year. A year ago on that very first meet I would have never thought we would be almost 5000 strong 1 year later. I am a stay at home mother of 2 and 1 one the way, and I have to stretch the family money as far as I can to make it from week to week. I used to use the other sites and have to meet folks individually here and there to get the stuff I won. That was kinda scary because I really did not know who I was meeting or if I was safe with meeting them. This site we meet as a group and you don’t have to worry about someone hurting you or robbing you. This site has allowed me to clean out clothes my children has outgrown, get rid of stuff that I don’t use anymore, clean out a storage building packed from floor to ceiling of stuff that I did not want to drag in and out to hope I would sell in a yard sale. This site allows you to post your pictures, if you sell it you bag it up with the buyers name and how much they owe, and you take to the meet only what you have sold. I love this site and plan on it being around for many years to come. No Matter where I have to meet I am not going anywhere!!

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