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As of today, 146 communities (about 42 percent of the Commonwealth's 351 cities and towns) have collected $70.5 million over the past two fiscal years from the .75 percent local option meals tax.

The Division of Local Services Municipal Data Bank has the complete list of communities that have adopted the local option tax, and the amount of revenue generated in FY 10 ($27.13 million) and FY11 ($43.33 million). This list appears on the Data Bank Local Options page; just scroll down about halfway until the bullet headed Local Option Meals Excise.

Not surprisingly, Boston has collected the most, about $30 million. The tax has delivered about $5.1 million to Cambridge, $3.2 million to Worcester and $2.3 million to Springfield. But other communities have seen the benefit as well. Natick and Framingham, which share the busy Route 9 corridor, have collected $2.7 million and Northampton, a Pioneer Valley hub of dining and entertainment, has collected $939,000. Blandford, a small town of 1,233 near the New York border, collected $52,000, mostly, one would assume, from the two MassPike service areas in the town.

The state meals tax is 6.25 percent; with the local option, the meals tax rises to 7 percent. Thus a $40 restaurant tab generates $2.80 in meals tax, of which 30-cents goes to a city or town that has enacted the local option. These small amounts add up to a sizable revenue source.

The state share of the meals tax as of May 31 had generated $740 million, up $55 million or 8.1 percent from the same period a year ago, which indicates that the increasing number of communities that have adopted the local option meals tax has not slowed down the pace of taxpayers going out to eat.

 

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