Mark Schlueb reported in today’s Sentinel that Johnson’s Diner has reopened. It had been closed since late September when the Florida Department of Revenue ordered it closed because of a $39,000 tax bill.
If you’ve ever looked closely at a restaurant check, you probably noticed that the food and drinks are all tallied up to a subtotal. So, you’ve got your sweet teas, your stew beefs and catfish, and your lemon pies. The cost of all those items are added up, and at Johnson’s they don’t add up to a lot. Johnson’s Diner was always known for good food, nice portions and decent prices.
But look again at the check. Right under the food and drink tally is the sales tax, calculated as a percentage of the number above. You, as the customer, are obliged to pay that; the business must tally the taxes paid by all its customers and pass the monies along to the state. It’s certain that all of the diner’s customers did their part by paying the taxes.
The problem was, apparently, that the owners of Johnson’s Diner did not then pass those tax collections on to the state. Oops.
Clarence Taylor III, president of the family-owned business, said the family all kicked in personal funds to pay the back taxes. And to make sure it doesn’t happen again, he told Schlueb, they’ve hired an accountant.
That might help, but if they just follow the simple instructions I’ve outlined above they could save some money.