Charlotte Nash, chair, Gwinnett County Commission, expanded on s state of emergency declaration she signed Monday. EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com AJC FILE PHOTO
Photo: Emily Haney
Photo: Emily Haney

Gwinnett to delay some tax collections amid coronavirus outbreak

Gwinnett County is delaying some tax collections in response to the coronavirus outbreak, so companies can have more cash on hand as many businesses struggle.

Thursday, Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said in an emergency order that the county would extend the March 31 deadline to renew business licenses until July 1 and would not require payments of excise taxes on alcohol sales through May until September.

The order also allows restaurants to sell wine and beer to-go, if they already have a license to sell in their restaurants.

The order, which goes through April 13 but can be extended if the COVID-19 pandemic continues, says the temporary suspension of the provisions “will assist local businesses in responding to and coping with the COVID-19 Emergency.”

“I believe that is in the best interest of Gwinnett County, its residents, and its businesses to temporarily suspend certain provisions of the Occupation Tax Ordinance and the Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance as set forth below in order to assist local businesses and residents in coping with the COVID-19 Emergency,” Nash said in the order.

The changes will allow companies to keep money — which will otherwise go to the government — a little longer to help meet immediate needs. The extension on businesses license renewals until July and the ability not to pay taxes on March, April or May alcohol sales until September 10 will allow for more leeway for small businesses in the county.

Nash originally signed an emergency order Monday which allows her to temporarily suspend county rules and ordinances if strict compliance “would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.”

Other provisions in the order relax the county’s purchasing requirements and allow for the use of public property to protect lives and health. They also let the county provide temporary housing or emergency shelters.

“We just need more flexibility,” Nash told Channel 2 Action News Tuesday. “As we’ve seen over the past two weeks, the situation’s very fluid. It’s evolving.”

A spokesperson for the county did not know how much money would be diverted because of the decision or if any existing programs would be affected.

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