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Dec 27, 2011 07:17 AM

Joe Beef - Gift Certificate

I was fortunate enough to receive a wonderful gift over Christmas - the latest Joe Beef cookbook and a $200 Gift Certificate to the restaurant. But the gift cert has some hand written text on it that strikes me as very odd..."non-refundable, tax and gratuities not included".
Well the gift giver called back Joe Beef for an explanation on 'tax and gratuities not included'. She was told that is their policy - you must pay by other means to cover these items!? Irregardless of the amount of the certificate ($600-$800?) you will be asked to pay separately for tax and tip.

I have purchased restaurant gift certificates before and never seen that sort of policy. I can't understand why they would do this.

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  1. Most restaurant gift certificates I've seen do have this policy and most restaurants don't actually enforce it, except perhaps for the gratuity.

    1. I don't know if this clarifies or muddies things, but Revenu Quebec says:

      "The sale of gift cards and gift certificates is not taxable. However, the GST and QST apply to the total price of the goods or services purchased using a gift card or gift certificate, as in a cash purchase. The gift card or gift certificate thus covers all or part of the amount paid for the item. "

      2 Replies
      1. re: kpzoo

        kpzoo - That's interesting. Revenue Quebec clearly states that the gift card can cover the tax.

        1. re: JedZ

          It CAN cover the tax, but Revenue Quebec can't regulate a restaurant's hairbrained policy of NOT covering it.
          I never heard of this before.

      2. I could be wrong, but if the gift certificate is deemed to be inclusive of tax, then the taxes must be declared and remitted immediately upon sale. Whereas if the certificate is net of tax, then taxes are remitted only when and if the certificate is redeemed.

        3 Replies
        1. re: eat2much

          I think you're right eat2much...and that's what Rev Quebec is saying.

          1. re: eat2much

            Just to be clear, are you saying if the gift certificate is inclusive of taxes, Joe Beef would have to declare a sale of $176.21 and remit 13.5% ($23.79)? (or worse, declare a sale of $200 and be on the hook for $27?)

            And on the other hand, the certificate is net of taxes. So tax only has to be remitted when the customer redeems the certificate? In this scenario, whats the problem with the certificate being able to cover the tax. Example, pre-tax total came to $176.21. Tax comes to $23.79 for a total of $200. Why can't the customer hand over the $200 certificate and call it even (and leave a $40 tip in cash).
            Could it be a wording thing? Example: your pre-tax total is $176.21. Redeem the gift certificate, get $23.79 in change, then pay the tax in "cash"?
            Just curious...

            1. re: porker

              I think it's just a cash grab. Nobody's going to go there twice with one certificate, so not including taxes and service guarantees that the client will spend more on food or, even better, on booze.

          2. If it includes the taxes then the taxes are due and payable at date of sale. In an ideal world if the meal is only $150 or so then the balance should be used towards taxes and tip. I don't see it as being a cash grab but rather a way to keep as much of the money tax and interest free for as long as possible. Nothing wrong with that....

            3 Replies
            1. re: eat2much

              eat2much, I'm still not clear...
              "if the meal is only $150 or so then the balance should be used towards taxes and tip"
              but the OP says
              "you will be asked to pay separately for tax and tip"
              In other words, you CANNOT USE the certificate towards taxes or tip.

              So I'm wondering for argument's sake, if the pre-tax amount is less than $200, do you kiss the difference goodbye and have to shell out the tax and tip out of pocket?
              Sounds wonky.

              1. re: porker

                porker - Joe Beef will not give any of that $200 back in cash. Nor will they give me a gift certificate for a smaller amount if my meal does not total => $200. That I know for certain. I need to spend => $200 (not including tax/tip) to use the full amount on the gift certificate.
                That probably won't be too difficult at Joe Beef - a bottle of wine alone will be $75.

                The issue is also about the certificate "gift giver" - that person says to you "here is a certificate for a wonderful meal, but YOU have to shell out for you tax and tip". In my case the gift giver apologetically added some cash to the gift. That was the only way she could truly pay for a meal at Joe Beef.

                Joe Beef's policy is tacky, selfish and classless.

                1. re: JedZ

                  You're right, topping out at JB will easily be > $200, so our discussion is somewhat acedemic.
                  But I share your frustration. A total less than $200 is a cash grab on their part.
                  And yeah, I can understand how the giver would feel, sheepishly furnishing cash to make up for the policy.
                  I think there was a time when JB was a relatively small business happy with selling oysters. They would have scoffed at such a policy then. I feel they became more corporate (selling out to the man) as their celebrity grew and forgetting (or changing) their initial mission, created such policies.
                  Just my opinion.

            2. Whatever or however hairbrained the policy at Joe Beef is, you might want to consider using it before the end of the year. On January 1 the QST goes up 1%, and while in the grand scheme of things $2 ain't gonna change much, you're still gonna get more bang for your buck this week than you will next.