Dark Wing

Arlington County Meals Tax Delinquencies

60 posts in this topic

150K. Shameful... Roberto won't be getting any of my future business, if he does end up opening some new place.

Not surprising to see Murky Coffee high up on the list.

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Just to put these numbers into perspective (since not all area jurisdictions levy a meal tax), Arlington's meal tax on restaurants is 4%, so each $10k of delinquency represents a cool quarter-million of gross receipts. The tax is typically collected on top of the menu prices, so this really isn't a matter of squeezing the profit margins in an already difficult business - it's a matter of diverting funds that were collected on a separate line item from each diner in the government's name.

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When Ray's: The Steaks was in its fourth month of operation back in 2002 I couldn't make the payment on the meals tax due for the third month's revenue, which was due, I believe, on a Thursday and was in the amount of something like seven hundred dollars or so (I was doing about $3500 a week back then). Immediately upon the following Monday morning, a uniformed and enbadgened (be-badged?) tax enforcement officer showed up to explain that the meals tax collected was funds that belonged to the County and that to fail to deliver those funds was theft both from the County which was due those funds and from the customers from whom I fraudently took that money (if I did not deliver it to the County in whose name I took it from my customers)--sort of a triple-theft slash fraud scenario. How anyone got away with the kind of numbers reported, after the enforcement I experienced, is beyond me.

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Just to put these numbers into perspective (since not all area jurisdictions levy a meal tax), Arlington's meal tax on restaurants is 4%, so each $10k of delinquency represents a cool quarter-million of gross receipts.

I'm no "mathemagician", but that sounds like $4 Million Dollars in revenue to me.

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I'm no "mathemagician", but that sounds like $4 Million Dollars in revenue to me.

Funny but $250,000 x .04 = $10,000.

ETA - I see, $4 million generates roughly $150k in meal taxes.

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Better read the whole list, there are a lot of places I go to on this list including Whole Foods, TNR, Cowboy Cafe, Exxon, etc. As Mikey says, you can be a day late and land on the list, or paid it the debt off and the list not updated in a timely matter. That being said, bebo has been closed for a while and the higher you are on this list, the longer the period of debt may be.

Not surprising to see Murky Coffee high up on the list.

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Better read the whole list, there are a lot of places I go to on this list including Whole Foods, TNR, Cowboy Cafe, Exxon, etc. As Mikey says, you can be a day late and land on the list, or paid it the debt off and the list not updated in a timely matter. That being said, bebo has been closed for a while and the higher you are on this list, the longer the period of debt may be.

Based on this quote I don't think that Bebo is just a day late. Those are pretty strong words and potential charges.

The top delinquent, whose meals-tax bill totals $152,000, has seen the matter turned over to the commonwealth's attorney's office; treasurer's officials are seeking felony charges against the owner, and could seek to take possession of the owner's house in an effort to collect what is due.

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so each $10k of delinquency represents a cool quarter-million of gross receipts.

That chart though might include fines and/or late fees on top of the back taxes owed (I don't see an explanation of the amounts, although it is under the heading "Delinquent Tax Accounts").

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It appears the meal tax was enacted back in June 1991. Interest accrues starting 1% per annum, except includes 5% on top of other stuff, such as license tax. So, it adds up.

For anyone interested, attached is the actual code and language. What is interesting is that coffeeshops are included, but unclear if bakeries are or are not.

Ch65_MealsFoodandBeverageTaxation.pdf

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Took a look at the statute. While I support the collection effort, it does not appear that the violation constitutes a felony under that statute, and there does not appear to be personal liability (for the owner unless the business is a sole proprietorship) for not paying the tax when the business itself is supposed to be the taxpayer. This statute is an example in poor drafting. I don't know if some of the delinquent business owners intentionally failed to pay over the taxes knowing the county can't collect from them personally.

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Re: Bebo's alleged delinquincy -- let's not forget that Roberto had alleged major tax issues with Galileo too back in the day. As I recall, they involved sales tax owed to DC and the amount (alleged) was significant.

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it does not appear that the violation constitutes a felony under that statute

Carman reports that Donna pled guilty to charges of felony embezzlement on this. Five-year sentence; suspended pending restitution of the $156k owed.

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Onorato doesn't anticipate the plea will "impact [Galileo] at all." He says that the restaurant is still planning to open and may start serving within a couple of months.

I found this interesting since a conviction can certainly cause problems with getting a liquor license.

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I found this interesting since a conviction can certainly cause problems with getting a liquor license.

I guess someone else's name will be on that document. That said, I think his biggest problem is coming up with the $150+k.

After reading that article it makes you wonder if he owes anybody else money.

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I guess someone else's name will be on that document. That said, I think his biggest problem is coming up with the $150+k.

I read the application, and it requires anyone with an ownership stake to be declared, so unless his stake is 0% his name will be there.

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I could have sworn that there was a fairly large tax liability when the original Galileo closed.

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Really no jail time? I find it amazing that he has not yet paid the taxes and is in the process of opening a new place in DC. The fact that he had no assets, for someone so established, to me shows an intent to avoid paying. I have eaten numerous times at Bebo and quite frankly the service was horrific and all the while this was going on Roberto can often times be seen teaching a cooking class, which was cash only BTW. At times the service and food were criminal in my opinion.

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