Assembly restores tax to casino comp meals |

Assembly restores tax to casino comp meals

BRAD HORN/Nevada AppealSen. John Lee, D-Las Vegas, listens to Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio speak in the Senate Chambers at the Nevada State Legislature on Friday.

The Assembly moved quickly Friday to erase a potential $100 million hit to the sales and use tax.

AB2 “clarifies” the sales and use tax to ensure that the sales tax must be paid for meals businesses provide to employees, patrons and others at reduced or no cost.

A Nevada Supreme Court ruling found earlier this year the Sparks Nugget was due a refund of nearly $2 million in sales taxes paid on employee and comped meals.

Dino Dicianno, director of the Department of Taxation, said recently numerous applications for refunds had been filed since that decision and estimated the total cost at about $150 million.

Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said AB2 was “intended to clarify long standing legislative intent.”

In addition, taxation officials said there would be a multi-million annual reduction in the revenues generated by the sales and use tax.

There was no debate and no opposition.

The bill was forwarded to the Senate for consideration and was expected to be approved there as well.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said he, like Buckley, believes the original intent of the sales tax laws was that those meals be taxed and, therefore, would support AB2.

In addition, the Assembly passed legislation taking back the $36 million set aside to pay a tax commission ordered refund to Southern California Edison. That refund ruling was voided by the Nevada Supreme Court which said it was invalid because the entire hearing process was conducted behind closed doors in violation of the open meeting law.

Southern California Edision told the tax commission this past week the utility intends to seek the refund again.

Meanwhile, the Senate was considering the legislation necessary to drain the $267 million Rainy Day Fund. That is a large portion of the 4.5 percent budget cuts already approved by the governor and lawmakers but can only be done by the legislature as a whole.