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July 1, 2010

Gill's Tavern Owner Arrested

Steven Brannon, the former owner of the now closed Gill’s Tavern, Inc. that was located on Monroe Street in Tallahassee, turned himself into the Leon County Sheriff’s office on June 30, 2010 to face charges that he stole more than $24,000 in sales tax he collected from customers and for which he refused to file tax returns, the Florida Department of Revenue announced. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Brannon collected tax from customers at the Tavern. However, during various periods in 2009, he failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected or to file tax returns as required. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

"Most Florida businesses do an excellent job of meeting the state's requirements for collecting and submitting sales tax, which pays for services Floridians need," said Lisa Echeverri, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. "Individuals who collect tax but don't send it in are stealing taxpayer dollars and gaining an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses. It's our job to ensure that Florida's tax laws are administered fairly."

If you have information about tax crimes, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Tallahassee at 850-922-2671.