The electrical permits in my jurisdiction (Midwest USA city) run about $15 for a branch circuit off the top of my head (don't have the exact number, but it suffices for this question). There are a few other fees added to them as well, but all in all, they do not add up to the $50 minimum fee requirement my jurisdiction imposes on permits.

Could it really be the case that the building department does not want people pulling permits for jobs the size of adding a single branch circuit to a house? Or would it be legitimate to apply for a permit for a single branch circuit, and then give the building department $50 and say "keep the change"?

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    If they're sending out somebody to inspect the work, they have to cover their salary. The $50 minimum, is likely what they have to charge to not lose money. – Tester101 Aug 22 '16 at 0:26
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    @ThreePhaseEel unfortunately that's a legal question, not a home improvement question. Then again, for a $100k pool job, I knew more than the inspector that came 4 times. – Tyson Aug 22 '16 at 2:17
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    @Tester101 their salary is already paid for by our taxes, we should not have to pay a dime for permits. They should scale the services provided to the funding available, eliminating all except life safety services if necessary. Government has no reason to be efficient unless we demand it. – Jimmy Fix-it Aug 22 '16 at 4:52
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    @JimmyFix-it Let's keep politics out of it. – SomeoneSomewhereSupportsMonica Aug 22 '16 at 8:59
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    @JimmyFix-it In a perfect world, maybe... In the real world, taxes don't cover all of government spending. Governments have to find other ways to cover expenses, and permits are just one of those ways. – Tester101 Aug 22 '16 at 10:25

My small town jurisdiction says you don't need a permit to change a toilet or do minor electrical work.

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