Food for tax

The Nevada Tax Commission is rejecting casino claims that comped meals for preferred guests should be free of sales tax.

The commission decision at its Jan. 23 meeting came on agenda item 4e, in which Boyd Gaming sought a refund of taxes its casinos had already paid. Boyd argued that because the meals are not sold, sales tax was inappropriate. But the state countered that there is no such legal requirement and that only gamblers who pay money to a casino while playing can obtain the free meals.

The decision could have wide impact because most of the state’s casinos have put in similar claims amounting to millions.

The sales tax on comps has considerable political support. Even Jim Gibbons, who as governor pursued “no new taxes” policy, wanted the casinos to pay the tax on comps. Boyd is expected to go to court to overturn the commission decision.