Canton owed nearly $100K on mixed-drink sales: Audit

Sixteen restaurants in Canton may owe the city nearly $100,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest on under-reported mixed-drink sales, according to a recently completed tax audit for the city.

The City Council is set to meet July 21 to decide what to do. One option may be to offer to waive the interest due if taxes and penalties are paid by a certain date, said Nathan Ingram, chief financial officer for Canton.

Canton levies a tax of 22 cents per liter, plus a 3 percent excise tax, on sales of distilled spirits by the drink. Last September, the city contracted with the Georgia Municipal Association and the Resource Professionals Group to review and analyze three years of wholesale liquor purchases and tax returns of the city’s 30 restaurants with mixed-drink licenses. The auditors found 16 whose numbers didn’t add up.

The businesses owe from $50 to $6,915 apiece on $25,000 in total taxes; with penalties and interest, the total amount due approaches $100,000, the auditors said. One restaurant is so far in arrears, the city may report it the Georgia Department of Revenue, Ingram said.