Christine Laubenstein writes in the Daily News Tribune that two McDonald’s restaurants in Newton, MA have been charging 7 percent sales tax on meals, even though the restaurant tax in Newton is 6.25 percent.
On Aug. 1, the state sales tax increased from 5 percent to 6.25 percent. Municipalities have the option of increasing the tax another .75 percent, to 7 percent.
Late Monday afternoon, a reporter bought $15.26 worth of food and drinks from the restaurant at 111 Needham St.
With a 6.25 percent sales tax, the tax should be 95 cents on that order. Instead McDonald’s charge $1.07, or 7 percent of the meal’s cost.
A purchase at the California Street McDonald’s yielded similar results buying $5.18 of food resulted in a tax of 36 cents. That tax should have been 32 cents, according to state guidelines.
The restaurants’ owner acknowledged the error yesterday.
“This was a mistake, and we sincerely apologize for charging the new higher sales tax amount that (may) take effect locally in Newton this fall,” said Timothy McCoy, in the statement released by a Boston public relations firm.
McCoy said he misread a notice from the city that said Mayor David Cohen will be asking the Board of Aldermen to raise the city’s meals tax to 7 percent in the fall.
Earlier Monday afternoon, Nahanton Street resident John Shea noticed he and his wife were charged 7 percent sales tax on their two coffees instead of 6.25 percent at the California Street location.
While they were charged 11 cents tax instead of 10 cents, it’s still bothersome, Shea said.
“My point is they are charging everybody 7 percent, and it’s illegal,” Shea said.
Shea said he complained about the high tax to the manager in McDonald’s. Several other people who noticed the tax brought it up to employees as well.
“A lot of people have been complaining to management and they insist they are correct,” Shea said.
“They (employees) are just ignoring everybody,” he added. “I think they sincerely believe they can do it (charge the 7 percent sales tax).”
Several people eating in McDonald’s on Needham Street late Monday afternoon weren’t aware they had been charged a 7 percent sales tax instead of a 6.25 percent sales tax.
“I swipe it and I walk away,” Dorchester resident Louis Ashman said of his credit card.
McCoy’s company owns several other franchises, including the McDonald’s at 197 California St., according to city property records.
The Dunkin’ Donuts on Needham Street, a block away from the McDonald’s, was selling food with the 6.25 percent sales tax Monday night.
The McDonald’s at 413 Main St. in Reading, which McCoy also owns, was charging the 6.25 percent sales tax yesterday morning. Manager Mike Page said the store was following state guidelines.
“We were told by the state to do this,” he said.