Tax on half price wine

A restaurant in town is offering half off all bottles of wine on a certain night of the week. Any bottle is half price. The restaurant is still in its soft opening stage so we figured we’d try it on half price wine night. We were surprised when we got the bill that the total amount of the check was figured on the full price of the wine, then tax was calculated, then the discounted amount of the wine was subtracted. When we questioned this we were told that the previous owners always did it this way and that they were required to collect sales tax on the full price of the wine, even though we only paid half of the listed price.

The restaurant’s stated policy makes no sense, but they were firm in their refusal to redo the check. After a bit of back and forth, the spouse gave up. Now, we’re talking only a couple bucks, but it is the principle. By their reasoning any establishment offering a sale would have to collect sales tax on the full price of any good, regardless of the actual price paid. It’s such a weird thing that we were unable to get a good answer from our state’s tax site to rebut the restaurant with.

Have you ever heard of such a practice? Any tax experts out there to weigh in? Thanks.

Not a tax expert but some states do not allow “specials” or happy hours with discounted alcohol prices. If this is the case perhaps they gave a discount to the bill after the wine was rung up to get around the law?

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We have been to a couple of places with half price wine nights and never had that happen.

What meatn3 said is probably true. That kind of law is not all that crazy given the way alcohol is regulated and taxed in the US. The rules vary from state to state. You can probably look it up on your stare’s alcohol control board site where it shouid state if discounts are allowed on wine sales. Or… reply with the name of the state and someone here might know specifically.

The regular item price’s sales tax is charged on reduced-priced items, regardless of what type of store is involved. It depends on the local regulations.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold