Texas Beverage Taxes

Hiya, folks, and welcome back to another edition of Texas Tax Roundup. It seems like a lot of people might have been taking a vacation in July, getting a break from this heat, so not all that much to talk about—other than, for some reason, mixed beverages. Let’s see what happened!

Notable Additions to the State Tax Automated Research (“STAR”) System

Mixed Beverage Taxes

Audit Procedures/Additional Penalties

Comptroller’s Decision Nos. 118,594, 118,595 (2023)—The ALJ determined that the assessment of mixed beverage taxes against a taxpayer was not in error when the assessment was based on a pour test at the taxpayer’s establishment, sales receipts from the pour test, a price sheet, and vendor-reported purchases, and the taxpayer didn’t provide any evidence to support their claim that the assessment was wrong. The ALJ also upheld the assessment of a 50% additional penalty when the error rate for the assessments was approximately 86% and the taxpayer did not establish a plausible explanation for underreporting.

Comptroller’s Decision Nos. 117,911, 117,912 (2023)—The ALJ upheld the assessment of mixed beverage gross receipts tax and mixed beverage sales tax when the assessment was based on sales records and the taxpayer’s mixed beverage gross receipts tax and mixed beverage sales tax reporting and the taxpayer didn’t provide any evidence showing error. The Comptroller also upheld a 50% additional penalty when the taxpayer’s overall error rate exceeded 50% for each assessment and there was not plausible explanation for the underreporting.

Comptroller’s Decision Nos. 118,107, 118,108, 118,109 (2023)—The ALJ agreed with the assessment of mixed beverage taxes and sales and use taxes against a taxpayer that operated a restaurant and full-service bar when the taxpayer failed to provide any records demonstrating that the audit was in error. The ALJ further upheld an assessment of an additional 50% penalty against taxpayer in connection with the mixed beverage tax assessment because of the taxpayers had an overall error rate of 61.87% in the mixed beverage gross receipts tax audit and 58.3% in the mixed beverage sales tax audit with no plausible explanation for the underreporting.

Personal Liability
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If you’re a homeowner, a residential property tax protest should always be on your radar around this time of year – even if you filed one last year and won.

The truth is, property tax calculations are based on a lot of arbitrary data – data you just don’t have control of. Appraisal districts use recent home sales and other market info to create your home valuation, and in today’s market, a good chunk of properties are being over-valued. In the end, that means a higher property tax rate and more money out of your pocket – year after year. Read More

Deadlines for property tax protests are quickly approaching, and if you want to lower your appraised value – and subsequently your annual tax burden – the time to act is now. To help you get started (and see success) we’ve pulled together some of our top property tax protest tips below. Use them to your advantage to lower your tax bill – both now and years down the line.

  1. Use a pro. When it comes to property tax protest tips, none is more important than this one. Using a professional to handle your tax protest comes with so many benefits. Most importantly, it gives you an expert, knowledgeable partner who can build your case and boost your chances of success. They know what it takes to win a protest, and they can make it happen. Using a pro also adds convenience for you. There’s no gathering of evidence or tedious forms, meetings or hearings. They do it all for you. It’s easy, simple and hassle-free.

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There always seems to be an amnesty program going on somewhere, particularly if you know where to look.

States are aggressively pursuing delinquent taxpayers, while still making it relatively easy for them to come forward themselves. Last year, we wrote an article about some interesting amnesty programs in Connecticut (CT), Ohio (OH), and Rhode Island (RI).

Most amnesty programs allow for a waiver of penalties and a limitation on interest if businesses come forward under the terms of the program as specified by the state legislature. Most of the programs are limited in time (often only a two to three month window) and only cover certain taxes.  Yet, with the right fact pattern, a company might benefit from engaging in such a program. But not always.  As with most things related to multi-state tax issues, the answer may require a little more research and analysis. Read More

Even though some IRS audits are chosen at random, there are a few factors that could put Texas taxpayers at an increased risk.

Taxpayers in Texas may understandably have a fear of being audited. After all, an Internal Revenue Service audit may be incredibly time-consuming and end in the consumer having to pay money to the government. However, that is not always the case. Read More

If you are planning or are actually doing a real estate business, either as an investor or as an active participant, you will have to deal with the these:

Net Investment Income Tax: If you have net investment income and your modified adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 for married persons filing jointly, then there is a 3.8% tax on the lesser of (1) your net investment income, or (2) the amount your modified adjusted gross exceeds the threshold amount.  Note that self-employment income is not net investment income. Read More