May 17, 2007


Today, I got a most unpleasant piece of mail. I've long been suggesting that one of the nice things about Tennessee was that the government is relatively libertarian in its outlook; the state does not govern or do things more than it really needs to, and as a result it does not have to tax its citizens any more than it really needs to.

But it seems that in an effort for the state's leaders in Nashville to avoid implementing a bound-to-be-unpopular income tax, they've had to come up with some more creative ways of squeezing money out of people. Thus, I received this:

"Professional Privilege Tax"? What do they think the membership fees I pay to the Tennessee BOPR for my license are, if not a tax on my ability to practice law?

Now, bear in mind that I've already paid my Tennessee bar dues. I've already paid my fee to demonstrate compliance with my Tennessee continuing legal education requirements. I've already jumped through all the hoops that the Supreme Court, the Board of Professional Responsibility, and the Committee of Bar Examiners have asked me to. This is the Legislature, acting through the Tennessee Department of Revenue, trying to get their pound of flesh out of me, too, with the proceeds going directly into the state's general fund.


It seems that my choices are to pay the tax -- which, if you add in my BOPR dues and CLE compliance reporting fee, would make my Tennessee license more expensive than my California license -- or resign my license voluntarily. I'm leaning towards the latter, since I'm not really using my Tennessee license right now anyway. But the thing of it is, I now feel as though I've been taxed three times for the same thing.

Nashville can suck it.

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