Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Here We Go Again, More Red Tape!

All I really want to do is make hats.  I don't actually want to have to fight every single uninformed haphazard, application of a rule that comes my way.

Today our property assessment came in the mail.   The tax assessor decided to tax the portion of my house being used for my business with commercial taxes.  Yes, I will appeal, but I need to talk about this because this sort of thing is what makes it so difficult to run a small business in Nova Scotia.  I am a one woman operation.  Every time I have to fight because someone is misunderstanding a rule, I lose time out of my day.  This lack of understanding is costing me money. As a crafts person,with the income of a crafts person, there is not a lot of that stuff to spare.

Commercial taxes are applicable only to commercial occupancies.  Commercial occupancies are permitted only in the commercial zone.  My home is a residential occupancy in the residential zone of Lunenburg where no commercial occupancies are permitted.  This concept is understood when we are speaking of Bed and Breakfasts.  Bed and Breakfasts, in the residential zones of Lunenburg, do not pay commercial taxes. Bed and Breakfasts are Home Occupations.  Craft workshops are also Home Occupations.  I am a craft workshop.

Sometimes Bed and Breakfasts have people sleeping in their homes, this does not make them a hotel.  Sometimes I have a customer that comes to my studio, in my home, to buy one of my hats.  This does not make me a commercial retail store.   If someone works as an accountant from a bedroom in their home, they are also a home occupation. They are not a commercial office building.  Are you following me?

 We do not apply commercial rules to homes.  We have Land Use Bylaws which are meant to ensure that this does not happen.  We need to understand these rules, so that they are not misapplied and so that craftspeople or perhaps someone cutting hair from their home, or working as a carpenter from their home do not have to spend their valuable time fighting.  If I need to fight, I would rather fight with my son to occasionally change his clothes or take a bath.  Those fights are part of my job description.  I signed up for that fight.  This fight is not part of my job description.

Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I brought this issue to one of my elected officials?  Would one of them advocate on my behalf?  Maybe my board of trade?

If every home-based business owner that applies for a development permit and a sign permit is rewarded for their desire to follow rules by a Migraine, then no home-based business owner, in their right mind will try to follow a rule.  This is why most home-based businesses are in the underground economy  Bad for the town, bad for the province, bad for the business owner.

Can somebody who is in a position to fix this mess, please do so?  I have hats to make.

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