Food and beverages have long had tax connections. Some states tax groceries. Most tax restaurant and other prepared meals. State and federal excise taxes add to our potent potables' costs.
Recently, though, taxes on the serving side of meals and drinks have caused trouble.
One in three businesses with a liquor license in North Carolina is behind on taxes, according to an investigation by Raleigh television station WRAL.
No tax toasts: Those establishments' nonpayments are costing the Tar Heel State nearly $46 million and some state officials want to start taking away liquor licenses as way to get the money.
When the delinquent businesses go to renew their annual permits with Alcoholic Beverage Control, they would not get the authority to sell booze until the taxes were paid or at least a payment plan was put in place.
"It's simply not fair for one taxpayer who's paying their taxes on a regular basis to have to subsidize the non-compliance of maybe their competitors," said Charlie Helms, North Carolina's tax compliance director. "These are monies that are collected by a retailer through sales tax or by an employer through withholding tax, and they've simply failed to turn that over to the state."
The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association disagrees. Shutting off the taps, association spokeswoman Lynn Minges told the TV station, will only make things worse for struggling businesses.
Tax rating restaurant reviews: Halfway around the globe, tax collectors took to publicizing the tax-paying habits of restaurants.
Last fall, the Philippines government issued what has been described as a Michelin tax guide, after the world-famous restaurant rating system. The archipelago nation's tax version reports on which eateries pay the most.
The tax reporting is part of President Benigno Aquino's effort to make good on his campaign promise to get the Philippines' finances in order. One way is to go after tax cheats, including celebrities, professionals and businesses.
The restaurant tax ratings play up the importance of diligent corporate taxpayers in improving the country.
The tax ratings apply to all dining establishments, from local favorites to international chains.
And Filipino restaurants aren't the only businesses that have had their tax situations revealed by their government. The country's Department of Finance also released a similar graphic of the top tax-paying hotels and motels.
The lesson, both here and abroad, is eat, drink and be merry ... as long as taxes are paid.
"Iced Cocktail" photo courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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