Shopzilla, the comparison shopping Web site, is still based in Los Angeles, but company officials are so ticked about its L.A. city tax bill that they're looking at other options - say, Culver City or Santa Monica. They're not alone. As part of the city's efforts at business tax reform, about 30 businesses were reclassified (higher, of course) and then charged unpaid past taxes. I won't even begin trying to explain the reasons - this business tax thing has been virtually impossible to decipher over the years. All we know for sure is that the city has been giving companies plenty of reason to take their trade elsewhere. From the Business Journal:
Several of the companies that were reclassified, including Shopzilla and online legal document company LegalZoom LLC said their businesses should qualify for the 1997 tax break, which applies to multimedia companies and businesses that "develop online and Internet services, including the design of Web sites for clients." The companies contend that the city has adopted an extremely narrow interpretation of the tax break in order to get more money. "I think most people know what an Internet company is. It's not difficult to define," said John Suh, chief executive of LegalZoom. "But when the city is facing the kind of dire financial straits it is, it will favor what makes the most sense for the city coffers."
Story says that city officials, including the mayor, are on the case. Sure relieved to know that.