The Washington State Department of Revenue is reminding restaurants, bars and taverns that they no longer should be collecting a half-percent King County food and beverage sales tax. The tax was imposed in 1996 to pay for the construction of Seattle’s Safeco Field and ended October 1st, 2011 after King County notified the state that the bonds to build the stadium were paid off. Despite Department of Revenue efforts to notify affected businesses, the agency continues to receive reports that businesses are still collecting it.
“It concerns us that some businesses are still collecting this tax nearly six months after it ended,” Department Director Brad Flaherty said. King County restaurant, bars and taverns should collect the state and local sales tax rate percent of 8.6 percent to 9.5 percent on their sales, depending on their location, not 9.1 percent to 10 percent. The state has been contacting businesses that are erroneously collecting the tax to provide them with correct reporting instructions. It also is working with industry associations to help get the word out to any businesses that have yet to update their cash registers. Businesses that have inadvertently charged the food and beverage tax should refund it to customers upon request.
Komo News traveled to Snoqualmie today to do a story on the topic. It visited local Snoqualmie Ridge restaurants and found that indeed, some local restaurants and bars are still (unintentionally) collecting the expired half percent sales tax; including Uncle Si’s Pizza and Finaghty’s Irish Pub. That half percent isn’t a huge amount. On a $50 bill it equates to about 25 cents. Some interviewed didn’t feel the half percent was that big a deal and wouldn’t think to question tax on their bill. They assume it’s right. To the restaurants’ credit, once the problem was pointed out by Komo News, it was fixed immediately. You can watch Komo’s full story here.
More information is available at http://dor.wa.gov/stadiumtaxes.