Seriously. As a bookkeeper or (un-glorified accountant), this is my crazy busy time of year.
End of year wrap up, w-2 printing, closing out the old year in the computers, time crunch to get this done and first payroll out.. equates to an eeek. Of course add that with the new tax laws, tax table updates and employees/employers in an uproar about the new law of automatic gratuity and that equates to a triple EEEEEK.
The IRS has been researching how to tax an auto-gratuity added to a bill (generally on parties larger than 7). So they have done it throughout all the states, beginning in 2014~ you may not add a gratuity to any bill. If your policy holds that law, it needs to be stated as a service charge and not a gratuity. Their belief, which is a correct one, is that the establishments are not giving the guest the choice to put the gratuity on the bill. It is an added charge. Of course, on the other hand, the IRS may not understand what it takes to serve a large group of people, who sometimes don’t understand what it means to leave a gratuity.
Okay…I understand that, not a big deal for a small diner or pub situation. But on an establishment like the one I work at, a majority of our reservations are for large parties. The restaurant accommodates parties as little as one guest to as large as 350 people. So of course the servers are up in arms…. how can this be, most parties believe this to be added to their bill already? We will never see a gratuity on a large party again? All this mish mash, hosh posh in my ear as if I was the one who passed the law? HELLO PEOPLE, I am not the IRS, I am a lowly bookkeeper. I do what my boss and the IRS tell me what to do. I also am a lowly server at times, so I am subject to this law just as much as you.
This being all said, and off my mind now, my somewhat gentle response is, there are those who give you a super large gratuity, more than what is deemed as customary and then there are those who don’t leave enough. It is all a wash in the end. No guarantees. No they don’t like my answer, and sometimes want to argue with me, and I just have to walk away.
IS IT TIME TO GO FISHING YET????.