Typically Asked Questions
Will I have to pay 1% on my gratuity or tip that I leave too? – No. Like a sales tax, the food and beverage tax will be added only to your total restaurant bill for the food and/or beverages that you purchased.
Will all the food at the grocery store be taxed? – No. Only prepared foods like hot foods from the Deli that are ready to eat would be subject to the food and beverage tax.
Will the tax go on forever? – No. Under the statute, the food and beverage tax is set to expire on July 1, 2045. If the Town wanted to extend the tax, it would need to seek new approval from state legislators. The Town could also expire the tax at any time even before the deadline date.
Why wasn’t this on a referendum for voters to decide? – The food and beverage tax is an allowable tool for municipalities and counties, but the imposition of taxes is controlled or directed by your state lawmakers. The State Legislature is the government body that has the authority to approve a new tax. It is not required to be approved by voters in a municipality.
Who will make sure that our town is spending the revenue correctly? – As with all other Town spending, the State Board of Accounts will monitor the use of the Food and Beverage Tax Revenue. The town will be required to track the revenues and expenditures.
Can I make suggestions of where the funding is spent in our town? – Absolutely. If the ideas fall within the restricted uses of the revenue, the town would love to hear your ideas about making our parks and recreational areas better, as well as ideas on enhancing tourism in Merrillville. Click here to submit your suggestions electronically.
How will a food and beverage provider business set up the tax collection process once the Town approves this? – The business’s financial system should allow the additional tax to be added separately to the bill and collected at the time of customer payment. A monthly total should then be available in the system, just as it currently tallies sales tax. This food and beverage tax amount is then reported to the state when the sales tax is reported and paid to the state in the same manner. The State of Indiana prepared a guide to help businesses understand the food and beverage tax. Click here to access the food and beverage tax business guide.
Will my meals delivered from Meals on Wheels of NW Indiana be taxed? – No. Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana is a non-profit organization, and their services would not be taxed through this program.
When will the Town get the excise tax revenue? – Monthly. The State of Indiana will send revenue collected for the Town monthly, allowing the Town to use the funds for the allowable uses as described on this website.