May 31, 2007

Surrendering The License

It turns out that I cannot place my Tennessee license on "inactive" status since I am still practicing law in California. So the only way for me to get out of paying this stupid "Professional Privilege Tax" is to surrender my license completely -- that is, to give it up forever.

I'm not thrilled about doing this, but I've no intentions of moving back to Tennessee or of practicing law there again. Never say never, I guess, but this is pretty close. So I'm willing to do it. There's a form I have to fill out, which I expected, in which I have to explain why I'm giving up my license and whether there are any disciplinary or criminal charges pending or threatened against me, which there are not (but which would obviously be of interest if there were).

Turns out I also need to give them back "my license," meaning the original, physical piece of paper that I thought was a certificate commemorating my admittance to the Tennessee bar. According to my paralegal, who has been helping me get this task accomplished, my Tennessee bar card is not considered my "license" by the Supreme Court; they want this sheepskin back. I don't know exactly where that is; I suspect it's with all my other certificates and diplomas that I've never, ever got around to having framed.

And, it will cost me fifty dollars to give up my license. Cheaper to just not pay the dues; if I ever do want the license back I can just pay the back dues and fines and never have lost it in the first place. That's one-eighth the cost of the tax. Still an economically efficient decision, I suppose. But since I couldn't get an effective notice of surrender in as of today, it appears that I will have a valid Tennessee license to practice law on June 1, 2007, and therefore will be liable for the tax. So it certainly doesn't make sense to pay more money for the purpose of avoiding paying even more money that I'd have to pay anyway.

I'll just keep the license for another year. Who knows, I may need it again one day.

1 comment:

Paul Champagne said...

Boy am I naive ... I thought the law was about truth, justice and common sense.