State Senator-Elect Leonidas Raptakis says he will seek immediate repeal of a new regulation, buried deep in the state budget passed earlier this year by the General Assembly, which requires restaurants and bars to provide a new report detailing total sales of alcoholic beverages in the past year to the Division of Taxation.
Raptakis called this a burdensome new regulation, noting that it was not a topic of debate and was hidden deep in Article 21 of the state budget in the last paragraph of an article that was nearly 40 pages long.
“Elected officials throughout the state are talking about reducing the burdens on businesses and streamlining regulations and then we see this kind of proposal snuck through in the 11th hour, buried hundreds of pages into the state budget,” said Raptakis. “Many of us in the hospitality industry were focused on stopping the governor’s sales tax hike proposal, which would have hurt our businesses in this tough economy. Now it looks like someone is trying to punish our industry by forcing more paperwork on us with no warning and no time to plan.”
Raptakis said restaurant and bar owners received notification from the Division of Taxation last week that they had until Feb. 1, 2013 to provide this new report, a detailed two page form which looks like an income tax form and requires businesses to compile their total alcoholic beverage sales for the previous year. Currently, restaurants and bars have to file a monthly form detailing their total sales, both food and beverage. Raptakis said the new requirement, which seeks to break out information on alcoholic beverage sales, seems to be designed solely as a means of gathering data to impose a new tax hike.
By giving businesses little more than a month to compile these numbers, Raptakis said the new law is not taking into account the fact that there may be many businesses that don’t have a system to break down what they do on alcohol sales as opposed to food sales. He said it is one thing to get advanced notice that your business must start compiling this information going forward, but demanding that businesses turn back the clock and dig up such details is not realistic.