Rooms and meals license rules changed

A new state law requiring restaurants to renew their rooms and meals tax license every other year was signed into law Monday by the governor, but its major effect shouldn’t be felt for a while.

Although the law goes into effect on July 1, and the license expires in an odd-numbered year, restaurants, hotels and car rental agencies don’t have to worry about it until next year, according to Revenue Commissioner Phil Blatsos.

Under the law, all those who collect the rooms and meals tax will have to pay $5 renewal fee for the license. Previously, the license term was for as long a the life of the business.

“We are not trying to nickel-and-dime everybody,” said Blatsos. “It was just that businesses were selling their business without transferring their license, and it was getting to be a real mess,” he said.

He said the department was working closely with the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association to implement the law and educate restaurants and hotels about it. That’s why the agency left a year, rather than two weeks, before sending out notices for licenses. Anyone who gets a new license within six months of the renewal date won’t have to pay the renewal fee. – BOB SANDERS

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