lawsuits, filed in Canadian County, have cast restaurants that serve
mixed beverages in a very unfair light, and have created unnecessary
uncertainty among these restaurants’ customers.
allegations made in these lawsuits are unfounded and without merit. It
is unfortunate that these restaurant owners, who have always collected
and remitted the taxes to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, are being forced
to defend themselves against these claims that have no merit, not to
mention having to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend
themselves against these claims.
is alleged the defendant restaurants have been overcharging their
customers for years and that these “ill gotten gains” should be repaid
from the restaurant profits. That is an interesting argument, given the
fact that restaurants collect the taxes per the regulations of the OTC,
and remit them to the state twice a month. Any “ill gotten gains” (and
restaurants would submit there are none) reside with the state of
Oklahoma, and not with the individual defendant restaurants.
is illogical to believe that more than 800 mixed beverage license
holders would all collectively miscalculate the taxes for so many years
without the OTC stepping forward and saying it’s being done incorrectly.
That just doesn’t make sense.
lawsuits like these give Oklahoma a bad name and certainly take away
from our collective efforts to be business friendly. Restaurants are the
backbone of our communities and are the second largest employer, both
nationally and in our state.
get more than a few calls every single week from very worthy
organizations asking for donations to support various community causes.
And restaurants make those donations because they are involved in their
communities and want to be good corporate citizens for their friends and
neighbors. It doesn’t make sense that restaurants would deliberately
miscalculate their taxes. Restaurants can’t afford to alienate their
customers who are the lifeblood of their economic survival.
things are certain: This lawsuit is without merit, and restaurant
customers throughout Oklahoma have not been overcharged for their mixed
beverages when they dine out.
Hopper is president and CEO of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association.
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