Henrico County admits customers were overtaxed

HENRICO COUNTY, Va.  – To tax or not to tax? That seems to be the question confusing some Henrico businesses. A four percent meal tax was implemented by Henrico County on June 1.

While the tax is pretty straightforward for restaurants, it gets a bit complicated for convenience stores and other locations.

For instance pizza at a convenience store deli is taxable, while ordering a cup of coffee is not.

CBS 6 investigated after being contacted by a Henrico man who said businesses were taxing customers when they shouldn’t be. Ron Melancon has been tracking which area businesses are overtaxing and  even set up a Facebook page highlighting the discrepancies.

At Miller’s in Glen Allen, Melancon said his cup of coffee is routinely taxed at over nine percent. He should just be taxed the 5.3-percent sales tax.

“It is amazing to me how many people are not reading receipts,” Melancon added.

Workers at Miller’s said off-camera that they are simply doing what their corporate offices told them to do and that they followed the direction the county gave them.

But an email obtained by CBS 6 showed the county already contacted the gas station and asked them to correct the amount of tax charged and provide refunds when necessary.

“I spoke with the accountant for Miller Mart on Friday. The problem should be corrected very soon if it has not been already,” Steve Klos, a senior management specialist with Henrico, said. “Please let me know if there are any more issues going forward.”

“It is just a few that are charging incorrectly,” Gene Walter, Henrico County’s Finance Director, said.

Walter added that if someone spots an issue, refunds are given by the individual company where the overtaxing was done.

Walter also asked residents to let the Finance Department know if there are any errors so they can address them with the individual business.

“Send us a copy of the receipt so we are aware of the overcharge so we can contact the business,” Walter said.

For questions on what is taxable and what is not taxable in Henrico, click here. 

Henrico County anticipated that the four-percent meals tax would generate approximately $18 million in additional revenue, which will be dedicated to the operational and capital project needs of county schools.

6 comments

  • Ron Melancon

    Good reporting a brave reporter. Now that they admit we have a problem let’s fix it , Nobody wanted to cover this.
    This is a good reporter.

    Dave and Busters will charge you the meals tax on a beer.

    Who is going to refund ?

  • Eugene Golden

    Good luck trying to get a refund from the business. The person you deal with is “just an employee” and the manager is “unavailable”. Somehow many of us knew this would be a scheme to take extra money from everyone. Thanks for reporting it though. At least we know that we are being taken. Of course I knew that when the law passed.

  • grundlemonster

    “Henrico County anticipated that the four-percent meals tax would generate approximately $18 million in additional revenue, which will be dedicated to the operational and capital project needs of county schools.”

    Why is it that every time a politician seeks a method of generating more tax revenue, they always say it will go towards schools, when clearly, that is never the case?

  • Peter Martin

    Taxing schemes are overly complex, a business owner is going to err on the side of overtaxing. It does not benefit the business, they just pass along the receipt amount. And for those asking: “Why not err on the side of the customer?” The Virginia Department of Taxation doesn’t accept that answer, if the business is audited and did not collect enough taxes, they must cut a check to make up the difference. Don’t complain to the businesses, complain to the General Assembly that taxes are too complex. Even mega-retailers make mistakes on this stuff.

  • John

    Mr. Melancon is a government watch dog. He did a good job on this one. I suppose 99% of the people wouldn’t have ever looked into this, but I bet over half of the people would be upset if they found out they were being over-taxed.

  • WizeMaxie

    So far I have been overtaxed by 4 establishments. 2 have gotten it right, so I have a 66.6% failure rate. While Mr. Klocs is congenial, very little seems to get done. I guess 9 months of prep time for the businesses is inadequate.. Could the Board of Supervisors made the tax more convoluted? We are being gouged. Why don’t the Supervisors take action??

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