Chef Gavin Kaysen got a reprieve on his taxes. So did the other businesses mentioned in Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order that in effect shut down the public area of restaurants, bars and other venues in the state until March 27 because of the coronavirus.
The news came Wednesday in the form of a month’s extension before the taxes were due to the state without penalty or interest.
Kaysen, the chef/owner of Soigné Hospitality Group, focused his frustration on the March 20 deadline. A shutdown of his business meant staff and livelihood to support with no income and a big tax bill looming.
In an impassioned video posted online, Kaysen asked the city and state governments to allow business owners to not pay those taxes for a time in order to keep their businesses afloat. Then he created a petition at Change.org to harness the support of his fellow hospitality workers. By Wednesday afternoon, the petition had more than 14,000 signatures.
Kaysen’s Soigné businesses include Spoon and Stable and Demi restaurants in Minneapolis and Bellecour in Wayzata. His restaurant group has a monthly tax bill that exceeds $100,000.
In an interview Tuesday, Kaysen said, “This is not money [the city and state] need right now. This is money we need. If it makes government feel better about this, think of it as them helping us pay our people.”
The Minnesota Department of Revenue announced that it was granting a 30-day sales and use tax grace period for businesses mentioned in the earlier executive order, without penalty or interest. Businesses that pay taxes monthly, with the bill due March 20, now have a month extension, though the revenue department says returns should still be filed by March 20.
Additional relief for reasonable cause can be requested after April 20. Questions should be addressed by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone to 651-296-6181 or 800-657-3777.
As for Kaysen, he has a message for the governor and mayor: “These are unprecedented times that call for bold and nimble action from our leaders, and I want to thank Governor Walz and Mayor Frey for listening and responding to our petition for relief.”