Italian eateries in Europe commissaries closed over tax dispute with Germans
October 1, 2010
WIESBADEN, Germany — A popular Italian eatery located in seven commissaries in Germany and England has closed until further notice following a tax dispute with the German government.
The German tax authorities are seeking 1.2 million euros from Gourmet Italia for taxes and fees dating to 1999.
“We’ve been debating for about eight years with the German tax authorities,” said Larry Pisoni, president of Gourmet Italia Inc.
According to Pisoni, the battle came to a head last month when the German government issued a garnishment order, which forbids the Defense Commissary Agency from paying Gourmet Italia its revenue.
Pisoni declined to discuss the case further, on the advice of his lawyer. An official at the German tax office in Kaiserslautern said Friday that she would not discuss the case. A hearing before a German civil court in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse is scheduled for Nov. 10.
“They came to us and asked to cease operations … it was very sudden,” DeCA Europe spokeswoman Leslie Brown said. The eateries closed Sept. 21.
Pisoni said the company pays U.S. taxes because the eateries are located on U.S. facilities and the company’s headquarters is in Greenbelt, Md.
According to Pisoni, Gourmet Italia served a total of more than 400 customers a day at the Ramstein, Wiesbaden, Vogelweh, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Stuttgart and Lakenheath commissaries.
“I’ve taken about 100 calls from customers asking what’s going on,” Brown said.