Affordable Healthcare Act Surcharges

A Florida restaurant chain called Gator’s Dockside has been adding a surcharge to their customer’s bills to pay for the employer healthcare mandate that is included as part of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Regardless of how you feel about the new legislation, if your business is thinking about a similar measure, be sure that you’re including any excess surcharges like one for healthcare for your employees into the total taxable amount.

Any money that goes to benefit the business is subject to sales tax. Let’s do the math. On a bill for $21.15, the restaurant chain added a 1% surcharge. The restaurant location is in Lady Lake, Florida, where there is a sales tax rate of 7%. The restaurant added on $.20. They then charged 7% sales tax on the new bill of $21.35, which comes to $1.49. If they hadn’t included the extra twenty cent surcharge before they calculated the sales tax, they would have calculated it at $1.48, and they’d have been a penny off when they paid their sales tax.

This may be a creative surcharge, but many businesses do levy surcharges, and some may not realize that they have to be included in sales tax calculations. All surcharges need to be included in the total taxable invoice. If your business makes deliveries, for instance, and there’s a surcharge for gas, you’ll need to include that in the total invoice amount when calculating sales tax. If you don’t, you’re not complying with sales tax regulations completely. As always, the best thing to do if you charge surcharges is to check with your sales tax jurisdiction to make sure you should include that surcharge in your total sale before calculating sales tax.

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