Hamburger tax sizzling | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hamburger tax sizzling

Posted By on Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 2:14 PM

The Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission is at work cleaning up procedures and practices that were put under a harsh spotlight by Democrat-Gazette reporting a while back.

The agency now has more extensive regulations governing its tax collection powers and practices. And it has begun to check and cross-check to make sure all that are supposed to be collecting the hamburger tax on restaurant sales are doing so.

Fallout: A financial subcommittee of the Commission met today. It decided it would not give Starbucks, the national coffee chain, a negotiated settlement of its failure to remit some $70,000 in tax owed by outlets here. The coffee shops had the required permits, but had not been remitting the tax (unclear why; maybe bills were sent the wrong place). The commission wants the money plus some $40,000 in interest and penalties. Starbucks has paid the back taxes, but has resisted the penalties, according to my source.

The commission also has been checking to find businesses that have failed to obtain required permits. Somewhere between six and a dozen were found. All have permits now except three -- Edible Arkansas, a seller of edible table arrangements; Market Street Cinema and Silvek's European Bakery. They have refused to obtain permits, A&P says, apparently believing the rules don't require them to pay a tax owed by sellers of prepared food.

The commission subcommittee has decided to give the three one last chance to obtain a permit and begin collecting the city tax. Otherwise the commission will seek injunctions to shut the businesses down until they comply with the law. The lawsuits have been drafted.


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