Restaurant owner owes town thousands in meals taxes

The owner of the Old Mill Grill in Strasburg has been charged with willfully failing to pay his meals tax and willfully failing or refusing to file a tax return.

Abraham Agosto, 52, of 497 Stover Ave., appeared in Shenandoah County General District Court on Monday following the charges, although the case was continued until November.

The town’s director of finance, Dottie Mullins, said Agosto owes more than $10,000 to the town in delinquent taxes when accounting for the gross tax, interest and fines.

According to the criminal complaint, Agosto has failed to file his returns for the past three months. Likewise, he has failed to submit payment to the town for meals taxes collected between July 16 and Aug. 15.

When asked, Agosto said his failure to pay was not a deliberate act, as the charge suggests.

“It’s being arranged, being fixed, and being taken care of,” he said.

Agosto declined to comment further on the matter.

Mullins said while a few businesses in town have been late on their meals tax, Agosto’s case was the most severe.

“He’s our worst case, that’s why we had to go to court,” Mullins said.

According to Mullins, a business works as a trust between customers and government when it comes to the meals tax. Businesses charge the meals tax at the point of sale, and hold the money before paying it to the town on a monthly basis.

Earlier this summer, Strasburg Town Council voted to increase its meals tax to 6 percent. Agosto is the first to appear in the judicial system for a failure to pay the tax following the hike. Mullins said he is also the only taxpayer facing charges in recent memory.

Agosto is scheduled to appear in Shenandoah County General District Court at 9 a.m. Nov. 28.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com.