Chesterfield School bus crash

Local businesses say fixing overtaxing problems is complicated

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HENRICO, VA (WTVR) -- Stuart Martin owns Dunn's Drive-Inn Barbecue and he admits discovering he was overtaxing customers after watching  a series of CBS 6 investigations last week.

"I didn't realize I was taxing incorrectly and then I watch your story that night," Martin said. "I'm sorry it was not done purposely."

Martin says he immediately went to fix the issue on his register and credit machine and quickly discovered the fix wasn't easy.

"There is no way to put a tax code in there," Martin said, alluding to the fact that many small businesses like his own use simple credit card machines that don't allow for two tax rates.

Since June 1st under Henrico law, beverages are not to be taxed when sold alone but they are to be taxed when sold with meals.

Because he is unable to buy a new credit card machine  he says he has enacted a simple rule: beverage-only purchases must be paid in cash.

"With credit cards, if they're not going to purchase any food we can't do it anymore," Martin says.

Henrico businesses aren't alone; last week CBS 6 discovered Richmond businesses were also overtaxing.

Political watchdog and Attorney Paul Goldman says he and others are pondering the idea of legal action, especially in Richmond where the meal tax has been in place for years.

Goldman believes the potential overtax could be in the millions and that it is the government's job to enforce the law.

"They are supposed to fix this problem and they haven't showed an interest in fixing it," says Goldman.

The City of Richmond is offering refunds to anyone with an overtaxed receipt. They say so far no one has come to city hall asking for cash back.

In both Henrico and Richmond all of the over collected taxes goes to local government.


  • mbaker9105

    Well, there ya go. I wonder if Chesterfield County ever had a plan. Richmond and Henrico should cease collecting all meals taxes until this is properly working. Nice job once again blindly rooting around in everyone’s pockets. Yeah, everyone Is going to take the time to drive down to city hall, find and pay for parking, wait around in a Government office and fill out paperwork to get 20 cents back. Wrong answer. And then their answer is “well, no one has been down here looking for a refund”. Dunces…..And I’ve made a decision maybe others will heed also: from here on out, unless I really want to eat somewhere or purchase anything that might be subject to the tax (things at WaWa, etc.), I’ll be purchasing my items outside of those localities before I head in that way…..

  • Ron Melancon

    Just wait until this reporter reveals that every catering company based out of Henrico including Chick Fli A is at a 4% disavantage because you can get your party trays from Hanover or Chesterfield and avoid the meals tax!! Yes in a 10,000 catering bill that is 400.00 only stupid catering companies would base their operations in Henrico. Move your operations to just outside the Henrico boundaries

    • mbaker9105

      I had also initially written about the real losses being the small businesses and how many more will probably be setting up right across county/city lines, but I took it out because I haven’t read the full text of the tax and what, if anything, it’s costing the businesses for all the extra hassle. Pretty sure though that any business with any business sense is probably making up for their cost of the hassle out of the consumers pocket, or soon will….

  • grundlemonster

    Like Henrico County is really going to do anything to fix this. All they have to do is sit back and watch the unwarranted tax money roll in. Since this is a county tax/law, Henrico really needs to step up and help out the businesses that provide them with a lot of their money. At the least, there should have been someone in the county making sure meals taxes were being executed correctly from the start. Nice fail Henrico!

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