Bar Sales Tax Audit Attorney Morton Grove

Bar Sales Tax Audit Attorney Morton Grove

If you own a bar in Illinois, then, you might be subject to an even more fickle and unpredictable sales tax audit. You will hear about this thing called a pour test. Here is our story:

The system our client uses is called a Berg System that allows only items that can be scanned and items that have an electronic pourer on them that sends the price to the registers. All of the beers were and have always been $3 for domestic & $4 for imported. When there is a special on the beers, they sell for $2 and it is entered on the register as open domestic or open import.  All of the Liquors are on a pouring system that has 7 price options. All of my liqueurs used for mixing (i.e.) triple sec & flavored puckers & schnapps along with n/a mixers (i.e.) sweet & sour, roses lime & grenadine are all on a free pour pourer that does not ring to the register as they do not incur a charge. For example if a person orders strawberry lemonade as a drink we use vodka, lemonade & strawberry pucker(dekuyper) only the price of the vodka rings to the register.

The basic bar audit is all about accounting for units of product―bottles of beer, glasses of wine or draft beer and ounces of hard alcohol. Bottles are easy. Glasses of wine or beer are fairly simple―x number of bottles or kegs divided by number of ounces per glass. But accounting for the hard liquor becomes much more subjective.

Most small local bars use a “free pour” where the bartender manually pours from a bottle into the glass, perhaps with the aid of a shot glass. Patrons won’t return if they see the bartender carefully pour the drink into the shot glass and then dump it into the serving glass. They expect an over pour where the shot glass is only a “suggested” measurement and the bartender continues to pour past the point where it is filled.

Measuring in this manner makes establishing the cost of the drink very challenging. One of the questions asked of the owner or bar manager at the start of the audit is what they expect that average pour to be. Most times the response is between 1 .0 and 1.5 ounces, which is reasonable, though 1.5 ounces is getting heavy. But some owners insist they are pouring more than that and stand by their answer even when the rest of the audit analysis shows this isn’t possible.

When the auditor’s use their one-size fits all procedure, they are out of scope with the industry. Call our office to mesh your particular bar policy with the State’s audit.


Bar Sales Tax Audit Attorney Morton Grove