La Vista Council Approves 1.5% Restaurant Tax


Several new bars and restaurants are opening in the new City Centre development along 84th Street. City Ventures, the project development, had said that eight such businesses would be among the first to open at the project. (Photo by Scott Stewart)
By 
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

La Vista – The list of Nebraska municipalities enacting a restaurant occupation tax now includes a Sarpy County community.

The La Vista City Council gave 7-1 approval to a 1.5% occupation tax for restaurants and drinking establishments at its Sept. 3 meeting. Councilman Mike Crawford provided the only opposing vote.

The tax begins Oct. 1 and applies to food trucks, coffee shops, caterers and food and beverage businesses in grocery and convenience stores. The beverages taxed include both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.

The council amended the ordinance to allow merchants to keep 2% of the tax collected to cover administrative costs, such as debt and credit card transaction fees. A similar rebate is already offered by Omaha, Lincoln and Ralston.

La Vista officials estimate the tax could bring in $700,000 each year for the city. It adds about 30 cents to the cost of a $20 meal.

Several new bars and restaurants are opening in the new City Centre development along 84th Street. City Ventures, the project development, had said that eight such businesses would be among the first to open at the project.

A restaurant tax is a form of occupation tax, where businesses remit the revenue directly to the city. Businesses could choose to itemize the tax on receipts or absorb it into its pricing, but if it’s itemized, sales tax applies to that amount as well, since the state regards collecting money for occupation taxes as a business cost.

Omaha’s 2.5% restaurant tax brings in about $34 million each year. Omaha also collects higher rates in certain districts, such as Blackstone, which has an additional 1.95% tax on food and beverages to provide support for the Blackstone Hotel redevelopment.

Lincoln collects a 2% restaurant occupation tax, and Ralston charges a 2.5% restaurant tax.

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