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New Meals Tax Delinquency List Is a Mixed Bag

by ARLnow.com December 16, 2010 at 8:35 am 3,123 27 Comments

The county’s meals tax delinquency list is sort of like a health meter for local restaurants. If the amount owed to the county keeps going up, bad things may be happening for the restaurant financially — or at least managerially.

(The county collects a 4 percent “meals” tax on all prepared foods and beverages sold in Arlington. Often, this tax is passed directly on to the consumer.)

A new meals tax delinquency list dated Dec. 14 shows mostly stagnation when compared to the list released on Aug. 31. The amount owed by the three biggest debtors has increased slightly in the past three and a half months, likely the result of the 10 percent interest the county charges on such debts.

  • Arlington Catering Company owes $75,556.76, compared to $74,304.59 in August
  • Extra Virgin of Shirlington owes $72,352.56, compared to $71,435.96 in August
  • Wall Street Deli, located in National Airport, owes $60,338.49, compared to $58,988.14 in August

The above list excludes chef Roberto Donna, who has so far been faithfully making court-mandated $500 monthly repayments to the county, according to officials.

Three restaurants near the top of the delinquency list have seen significant increases in their debts.

  • Front Page of Ballston owes $23,037.00, compared to $17,113.52 in August
  • Kora Restaurant in Crystal City owes $10,624.41, compared to $5,517.03 in August
  • Market Basket, a store in the Pentagon complex, owes $16,564.89 compared to no debt in August

In some good news, three local favorites have been paying off their debts.

  • Tortoise and Hare in Crystal City has no debt, compared to $19,508.46 in August
  • McGinty’s Public House, in the Market Square at Potomac Yard development, owes $19,751.18, compared to $25,226.64 in August
  • Bob and Edith’s Diner owes $5,468.95, compared to $12,841.15 in August

  • BrownFlipFlops

    By, “often, this tax is passed directly on to the consumer,” you mean it’s often added as an explicit line item, right? Since customers are a restaurant’s only source of revenue, all taxes are always passed on to the consumer, by definition.

    It always saddens me to see a restaurant enter this spiral. You CANNOT fall prey to the temptation to view that 4% as cash flow. You need to set it aside, and pay it. You can string the beverage importer along. You can work out a payment plan with Sysco. The County is not going to let the tax bill slide, though. They’re going to get that money. Unlike suppliers, they have the coercive power of the law to make it happen.

    • LP

      The 10% interest should be enough of a reason for a restaurant not to count it as income. Pay it off, I’m pretty sure no restaurant is going to be able to invest the tax dollars and receive a greater than 10% return.

  • Rich

    I am glad to see Bob & Edith’s paying their debt down. I was choosing to stay away until they started paying the debt down. It is hard to give money to a company that is actively stealing from the County.

    • Tater Salad

      And how are they able to pay the debt down if their customers boycott them?

      • LP

        Really? You don’t seem to understand that they already have the money. It’s about not being greedy and using the tax as income versus County dollars.

    • KalashniKEV

      “It is hard to give money to a company that is actively stealing from the County.”

      The county is stealing from the consumer. Where does this money go? Legal research into Law Enforcement “opting out” of doing their jobs? Dog resorts? Not plowing snow?

      I’d rather see the property tax go down, but this county is drunk off tax revenue and it needs to sober up. I oppose this tax.

      • Rich

        Sorry, I should have said stealing from me. It is a tax that they charge me and keep for themselves instead of paying their taxes to the county. Which ever way you want to look at it, I will not do business with a company that cannot pay these meal taxes.

        • KalashniKEV

          I’m with you on that.

        • Tater Salad

          So it should make no difference to you whether or not they pay their tax delinquency, since they’ve already stolen from you.

          • Rich

            No, it does make a difference. That money is supposed to go to the County and I expect it to go to the County. It is not “stolen” in that scenario. It is stolen when they do not pay their meal taxes and I do care when that happens.

      • mehoo

        Oppose it all you want, but don’t cheer law-breaking tax cheats while it’s still in effect.

  • PCB

    The county has to pay for those snow blowers somehow.. Come on guys pay up!

  • Shane

    Time to drop Front Page from the restaurant itinerary (and yes, that includes the District location too).

  • Rad

    I wish I could collect 10% interest.

  • Simon

    First Bebo Trattoria, now Kora… that space is truly haunted! Even Oyamel didn’t do nearly as well as it does now, after it downsized to its new space in DC.

    • CC fan

      Until Crystal City gets the BRAC thing settled and brings other companies into the area, the restaurants on that street will always be on life support. The foot traffic at night is light and nearly nonexistent on the weekends. If the county wants viable non-chain restaurants along Crystal, they may need to offer them more support.

    • Aaron

      Oyamel, Bebo, Kora… what else did these have in common other than occupying the same space? Horrific, unbelievably awful service. I’m not just talking Arlington bad, but the absolute bottom end of Arlington bad. You’d swear they were under the same ownership and management, but there’s really no explanation.

      • Ali

        Detestable service and decreasing food quality each step of the way. Kora was horrible and I was embarrassed to have taken people there with me.

      • Josh

        Agreed. Horrific service, and terrible food. I’ve been disappointed by all.

  • Runaway Train

    As a resident of Shirlington, I want to like to Extra Virgin, but I think their days are numbered. I ate there a week ago because I had purchased a groupon. It was my third time eating there in 2 years and I have left disappointed everytime.

    For the same price you can go to Carlyle and get a much nicer meal. Extra Virgin posts regularly on Craigslist for waitstaff, I think they have a high turnover rate.

    • JackFan

      Extra Virgin is just awful – I mean – comically terrible. I can’t believe it’s still around. Tom Sietsema had it right 5 years ago when he completely skewered them. The fact that they’re also delinquent on their taxes doesn’t surprise me at all.

      • Gino

        Don’t talk bad ’bout them, or you could be swimming wit’ da’ fishes

  • Concerned

    Where is the link to the new report?

  • Roger estea

    Why would arl co board need to collect more tax frm restarant goers? They already get the residents And the busnesses, why more tax yet?

  • DT

    There are delivery services who collect the tax but do not remit it to the restaurants or the county. Just thought you’d like to know.


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