Budget-strapped Tennessee trying to tax hotels that offer 'free' breakfasts

The so-called complimentary breakfasts at many hotels in Tennessee have stirred the appetite of state revenue officials.

The state wants to tax the lodging businesses for the food that they offer as free breakfasts as part of their room rate.

The budget-strapped state hopes to get an estimated $10 million for its coffers from the sweet rolls, coffee and such that hotel patrons enjoy at no charge from the Smoky Mountains to Graceland.

The proposal, pending in committees in the General Assembly, is to collect tax on the food at the prevailing sales tax rate in the county involved — up to 9 3/4 percent.

State officials stress that the businesses would be taxed and not the hungry patrons. Reagan Farr, commissioner of the Department of Revenue, doesn’t believe hotels would pass the tax onto consumers.

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