Lamont receives revised guidelines for new ‘meals tax’ from DRS, Fasano unsatisfied

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Lamont received revised guidelines on the prepared foods tax from the Department of Revenue Services Thursday evening.

The initial proposed ‘meal tax’ – set to go into effect October 1st – received backlash for including dozens of grocery store items that previously were never taxed.

Lamont said of the original guidelines that it was “too broadly interpreted and not reflective of what was intended when the budget was passed.”

In a letter to Lamont Thursday evening, the Office of the Commissioner of the DRS said that the department has reevaluated the ‘meal tax’ guidelines and has “determined that there is an alternative, and defensible, interpretation that more closely aligns with the language of the statute and the clear intent of the Legislature.”

In their new proposal, the DRS rescinds their original proposal of taxing all prepared meals sold in supermarkets.

The new proposed guidelines state, “Supermarkets are not generally sellers of meals. The rules describing the difference between bulk sales of food and sales of meals listed in this Policy Statement do not apply to food items sold in supermarkets.”

Pg 2/5 – State of Connecticut Department of Revenue Services

You can read the full new proposal from the DRS here.

Senate Republican Minority Leader, Len Fasano (R-North Haven), is still unsatisfied by the new terms proposed.

In a statement Thursday night, Fasano said the revised guidelines are “nothing more than a temporary pause,” and “not a permanent fix.”

“The fact that the DRS commissioner admits that there are different interpretations of how the tax can be imposed demonstrates the need to fix the law. If Democrats won’t call a special session to actually repeal their grocery tax now, it must be addressed in the regular legislative session next year. Otherwise all taxpayers are still at risk in all future years depending on which ‘interpretation’ state leaders choose to follow.”

– Len Fasano

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides went farther and blamed the House Democrats for “this mess.”

“We need to come into special session to fix this mess that cannot be undone with some flimsy bureaucratic remedy. The Democrats passed this law in June to tax groceries – it is in their budget that was signed by the governor. Now, 10 days before these tax increases on food and groceries are about to hit consumers and taxpayers at the cash register, the Democrats are stuck.

“They want to ignore state statutes that they voted for in the dark of the night and now think they can undo them by bureaucratic fiat when voters and taxpayers are not paying attention ‘

– House Republican Leader Themis Klarides

As for what the meals tax does apply to:

  • Catering services
  • Sandwiches made at the deli for takeout
  • Coffee and tea that’s prepared to go
  • Meals from snack bars or food courts

The meals tax does not apply to:

  • Dairy
  • Deli
  • Bread and baked goods
  • Fresh, smoked, and prepared meats

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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