Saegertown restaurant owner fails to remit tax receipts
Oct. 25 – The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office charged a Saegertown restaurant owner with failing to remit to the state more than $30,000 in state sales taxes she collected.
Rose A. Powell, 58, of Saegertown, is charged by the bureau with collecting $32,618.73 in 6% Pennsylvania sales tax from patrons of her restaurant, Pizza Villa in Saegertown, but failing to not have paid it to the state.
The office alleges the money was collected between February 1, 2018 and August 22 this year.
In interviews with investigators in January 2020 and May 2022, Powell said she was responsible for filing and paying the tax for the restaurant in Pennsylvania, according to the probable cause affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.
Powell admitted to investigators that she mixed the collected sales tax with her sales earnings into a bank account and used the money to pay other business expenses instead of handing over the money to the state taxes, according to the affidavit.
“She confessed that taxes were at the bottom of the list of things she had to pay, so the money would run out by the time sales tax was due each month,” the affidavit reads.
The affidavit says Powell failed to file the required tax returns and after promising to do so in both interviews.
The affidavit said a state revenue collection agent had been assigned to bring the restaurant into compliance beginning in August 2017. An agent met with Powell several times, explaining the tax filing requirements and payment for the company, as well as Powell’s update on unfiled returns and business taxes due, according to the affidavit. The agent even tried to put her on a deferred payment plan with the Department of Revenue.
After giving Powell multiple opportunities to bring himself into compliance to no avail, the case was referred to a criminal investigation for further enforcement in February 2018, according to the affidavit.
An average monthly sales tax due was calculated for the 33 unreported periods covered by the investigation to estimate the tax charged and collected, according to the affidavit.
Records show the company’s sales tax license was revoked on April 14, 2009 due to unpaid taxes and she was notified by mail.
On August 23, 2017, Powell received a second notice of revocation from the Revenue Enforcement Collections agent. However, Powell “did not obey the order to cease doing business until the license was restored to a compliant state”.
Powell continues to collect sales tax, but was spending the tax money on other business expenses to keep the restaurant open.
Powell was arraigned Monday before Magistrate District Judge Lincoln Zilhaver on one count of third-degree theft for failure to properly dispose of funds received and one count of unclassified misdemeanor for failure to remit sales tax. or filing a statement.
Powell remains free of his own recognizance. She faces a preliminary hearing on the charges on November 7.
Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at [email protected]