Councilor McLaughlin Calls for Waiving of Meals Taxes for Restaurants

Last Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker postponed the payment of all meal’s taxes, sales taxes and room occupancy taxes until June 20, but Councilor Michael McLaughlin has joined a regional group of elected officials calling for the meals taxes, at least, to be waived during that period.

“I have been calling for more than a week now for our City Council to hold a special meeting so that we as a body can take a vote on waiving the meals tax starting in February,” he said. “I know Governor Baker suspended the payment until June 20, but that only prolongs an unnecessary bill that these restaurants cannot hold on to currently in these times.”

As part of a small business relief package last week, Gov. Baker announced administrative tax relief measures for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 response.

This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.

The Baker package requires that:

•Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.

•The Department of Revenue is currently drafting emergency regulations to implement these administrative relief measures, and they were expected to be finalized before Friday, March 20.

For McLaughlin, he said the local portion of those taxes should be waived by the Everett elected officials as it will help small restaurants even after the pandemic has eased.

“I think we as a community, we can waive and not suspend the .75 percent of this tax and give these small businesses just a little bit of relief and call on the governor to do the same,” he said.

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