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The Tax Man and the Coffee Shop

The Office of Tax and Revenue may have its problems holding on to the city's money once it's collected, but officials are serious about getting what it's due from taxpayers on the front end.

Yesterday Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi and his tax office director Stephen M. Cordi said during a D.C. Council budget hearing that they want to hire 25 additional tax collectors to aggressively go after delinquent payments from residents.

Which brings D.C. Wire to the case of Murky Coffee, as Exhibit A of what might be in store for tax dodgers.

If you miss the classic cappuccinos served at the popular coffee shop on Capitol Hill, the OTR is giving you a chance to bring the store home with you.

Next week, its assets, which include multiple stainless steel espresso machines, a counter dishwasher with a built in booster heater, and many sealed bags of organic and nonorganic coffee beans, will be auctioned off at a starting bid of $10,000.

The tax office seized the popular coffee shop near Eastern Market at the end of February after owner Nick Cho failed to pay more than $425,000 in sales tax to the city.

According to a legal notice published earlier this week, the tax office would like to sell all of Murky's assets as a whole and bids will start at $10,000. The highest bidder will have 24 hours to make out a certified or cashier's check payable to the D.C. Treasurer. No personal checks will be accepted, according to the notice.

But if there's little interest in the bagel bar or stainless steel coffee cleaners, the tax office might entertain the idea of selling off items individually.

Folks can view the items Tuesday (that's Tuesday, April 15, by the way) from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and on Friday, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. The items will be at the store, at 660 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

Elissa Silverman

By Marcia Davis  |  April 10, 2008; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  City Finances  
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Not giving the city the sales tax it collected from customers is theft, plain and simple. I'm sure as the local economy sours due to the housing downturn, the District will be under pressure to collect as much revenue it can from other sources.

Posted by: Fred | April 10, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

whats the deal with all of these hair salons in dc & barber shops. they don't pay any tax. this is all cash and carry.

Posted by: need more money | April 10, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

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