Davidson County Clerk Neglects To Collect Annual Bar Tax - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Davidson County Clerk Neglects To Collect Annual Bar Tax

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by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Many bar owners in Nashville are receiving a letter in the mail from the Davidson County Clerk's office. The letter states they owe unpaid fees for their liquor license.

"It's just shy of $4,000, no real explanation as to why we did not receive a bill the previous year. Just hey, pay us for three years," explained Andrew Brace, manager of Hooters in downtown Nashville.

Brace received the letter dated March 2, 2012 last week and contacted his corporate office about the fee of $3600 that was listed on the letter.

"It appears from reading the letter that we missed something, or we did something wrong. That's not the case." Brace said.

Bars in Nashville are required to pay an annual tax, which is described as a liquor license.

"It looks like the county clerk failed to notice out this tax for several years and what they're doing is they're trying to play catch up," said attorney William Cheek.

Cheek represents several bar owners who have received the letter from the clerk's office.

"We've been telling people, hold off on paying it, see if the city can work this out because we don't think they can charge for multiply years at once," Cheek said.

Cheek noticed this might become a problem a year ago.

"So I called down to the county clerk's office and speak to a nice person down there who says our computer's broken and we haven't been able to print the letters out, so they haven't been going out," he said.

Cheek questioned the validity of the letter request payment for back taxes.

"Metro didn't send out tax notices and to me that means they made the decision not to charge the tax," Cheek added.

Metro finance director Rich Riebling said he was made aware of the issue of the neglected tax collection on Wednesday.

Riebling told NewsChannel 5 his office was looking into the matter, but had heard it was a computer issue that led to the error.

He did not have an exact dollar amount on how much money was not collected because of that error, but estimated it was several hundred thousand dollars.

It is a glitch that left Nashville without large sums of tax dollars during a recession and it has put many bar owners in a difficult position.

"Just kind of waiting on a reply on where do we go from here," Brace said.

Attorney William Cheek said this oversight was not caught during a recent audit of the Davidson County Clerk's office.

Email: ccannon@newschannel5.com
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