Restaurateur issued summons over meals tax issue

Abraham Agosto, the owner of the Old Mill Grill at 497 Stover Ave. in Strasburg, has been issued a summons regarding failure to file a meals tax report and failure to pay a meals tax to the Town of Strasburg.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Sgt. Scotty Thompson of the Strasburg Police Department, Agosto did not file or pay monthly meals taxes in February 2017.

This is not the first time Agosto has failed to file his monthly meals taxes. According to a criminal complaint filed on Sept. 14, 2016, Agosto did not file his meals taxes for three months in 2016. He also did not pay his meals taxes between July 16 and Aug. 15, 2016, according to that complaint.

Agosto owes the Town of Strasburg more than $11,000 in back taxes and interest, according to Emily Ritenour, the tax clerk for the Town of Strasburg.

Strasburg Town Manager Wyatt Pearson said it was Agosto’s previous record that resulted in the summons. Typically, after one month of failing to pay meals taxes, a restaurant receives a verbal warning from Strasburg town staff. After two months, a written warning is issued.

After three months of failing to pay meals taxes, Strasburg town staff turns over its information to the Strasburg Police Department and prepares to head to court.

“Due to the fact there is an existing extension for [Agosto’s] previous charges for failure to pay meals tax, it is the Town’s policy to go straight to the third step in the process for any future violations,” Pearson wrote in an email.

According to Pearson, this is the first business since Sharon’s Deli, in 2002, that the Town of Strasburg has fought in court over failure to pay meals taxes. The town has issued warrants and even settled out of court with other businesses.

The meals tax is a major source of revenue in Strasburg. It is projected to generate 16 percent of the overall revenue for the town. The meals tax rate in Strasburg is 6 percent.

Currently, there are four businesses that are late in paying their meals tax, including the Old Mill Grill, according to Ritenour.

Sgt. Thompson arrested Agosto on March 30. Agosto’s hearing is set for Sept. 11.

Agosto declined to comment for this story.

Contact staff writer Max Lee at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or mlee@nvdaily.com

Correction: This story has been updated to note that the punishment for failing to pay or file two months of meals taxes is a written warning.