NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Restaurant Association is encouraging restaurants to take advantage of a temporary tax break lawmakers approved. There seems to be a lot of confusion and businesses haven’t been signing up for it, leaving millions that could be helping them recover.
The Restaurant Association said this is a rebate for restaurants that can charge the gross receipts tax and keep it. But the owner of Paisano’s, Rick Camuglia, said the state did a bad job explaining how to file to get the temporary tax break. “It was kind of confusing if you file your GRT electronically. In fact, the first month I did, I did it incorrectly,” Camuglia said.
State lawmakers allowed for restaurants, food trucks, breweries, and bars to take a GRT deduction from March until July. It would allow those businesses to pocket the extra cash as a way to help them recover from the pandemic.
But the state said only 552 foodservice businesses have filed for that temporary tax break, which has only used about $5 million out of $90 million worth of tax relief. The Restaurant Association’s CEO, Carol Wight, said they’ll be holding a webinar to get that money to more restaurants.
“I have heard from restaurants that have said ‘I’m not going to be taking money from the government,'” Wight said. “But this is the same government that had us shut down for most of last year. So, they made this offer, they understand that it’s going to be difficult to get back on our feet and even if you don’t use it for your restaurant, you can use it to hire people. You know giving hiring bonuses and other things that might help get back to normal faster.”
The state says that the tax relief bill also helps out low-income families. They were able to give about 145,000 New Mexicans a $600 tax rebate. For more information on how to apply the rebate, visit nmrestaurants.org.