Man gets 14 days for meals tax

Published 10:11 pm Friday, January 3, 2020

A Portsmouth man pleaded guilty last month to five charges of failure to pay meals tax.

David Eugene Bryant, 45, was charged last year with 14 counts of failure to pay meals tax for The Café at Harbour View. The restaurant was located inside the Bon Secours Health Center.

According to the city treasurer’s office, Bryant owed $3,180.30 for December 2017 through January 2019.

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Deputy Treasurer Keith Ainsley stated in December that Bryant came to the office on Dec. 16 and paid his tax bill in full. Trial had been set for the following day.

When the court appearance arrived, Bryant offered to plead guilty to the first five counts with the remaining dismissed. He’ll serve 14 days in jail on weekends and be on unsupervised probation for one year.

Under city code, anyone who sells food and beverages at a food establishment in Suffolk must collect a 6.5-percent meals tax from customers at the point of sale, with that tax held in trust by its collector.

The person who collects the tax must then pay it by the 20th day of the month for taxes collected in the prior month.

Late or missing payments are subject to penalties and interest, and failing to comply with the city code is punishable as a criminal offense.