Mandatory Tip Policy? Consider Ditching it.
In January of 2014, the IRS will begin cracking down on how restaurant owners pay out mandatory tips (e.g. the typical 18% mandatory tip for parties of 6 or more). Going forward, these tips must be classified as service charges that are taxable as regular wages and subject to payroll tax withholding (aka more paperwork and accounting), rather than pooled into the tip cash servers divide at the end of their shift (which has been common practice until now).
Though the policy isn’t a new one, having been issued in June 2012, the implementation was delayed until 2014 to give restaurants time to comply. Some restaurateurs have already chosen to ditch the mandatory tip altogether rather than having to deal with the increased paperwork and fees.