My Commissioner of the Revenue doesn't understand why she needs to be involved in collecting from the responsible officers of a restaurant for unpaid meals tax. I asked her to help do an assessment and she says that she shouldn't be involved and that I should just collect from the owners. - TACS

Trust or custodial taxes, such as hotel taxes, meals taxes and admissions taxes are unique. Since these taxes are collected in trust for the locality, the law imposes an additional personal obligation on a responsible officer of any business failing to pay such taxes. However, before the Treasurer can take collection action against such an officer, the Code requires the tax “to be assessed and collected in the same manner as such taxes are assessed and collected”. In my reading this requires the assessment to be done by the assessing official, usually the Commissioner of the Revenue.

I don’t think that a separate assessment has to be entered on the books but just that a notice of assessment is sent to the responsible officer before the Treasurer can collect from them personally.

58.1-3906. Liability of corporate officer or employee, or member or employee of partnership or limited liability company, for failure to pay certain local taxes.
A. Any corporate, partnership or limited liability company officer who willfully fails to pay, collect, or truthfully account for and pay over any local admission, transient occupancy, food and beverage, or daily rental property tax administered by the commissioner of revenue or other authorized officer, or willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any such tax or the payment thereof, shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be liable for a penalty of the amount of the tax evaded or not paid, collected, or accounted for and paid over, to be assessed and collected in the same manner as such taxes are assessed and collected.
B. The term “corporate, partnership or limited liability company officer” as used in this section means an officer or employee of a corporation, or a member, or employee of a partnership or member, manager or employee of a limited liability company who, as such officer, employee, member or manager, is under a duty to perform on behalf of the corporation, partnership or limited liability company the act in respect of which the violation occurs and who (i) had actual knowledge of the failure or attempt as set forth herein and (ii) had authority to prevent such failure or attempt.