Zachary Tucker of Madison County, Illinois, has filed a lawsuit against Papa John’s alleging illegal taxation.
The lawsuit was filed on Jan. 13 against Papa John’s International Inc. and Papa John’s USA Inc., Madison Record reports. Tucker says that the pizza chain collected taxes on a delivery fee in the amount of 6.85%, which amounted to an extra 16 cents on his bill.
According to Illinois law, “charges for transportation and delivery must not exceed the costs of transportation or delivery. If those charges do exceed the cost of delivery or transportation, the excess amount is subject to tax.” The lawsuit claims that the delivery fee did not exceed the cost of delivery, and therefore it could not legally be taxed. Tucker is seeking class action status, saying that anyone who has ordered delivery from an Illinois-based Papa John’s has been affected by the illegal charge.
Madison Record writes that the lawsuit is claiming “negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract/breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, and violation of the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.” Tucker is requesting that the court order Papa John’s to stop charging the sales tax on delivery fees, pay damages and restitutions for all who paid the illegal charge, as well as compensation for attorney fees and court costs.
Neither Papa John’s nor Tucker’s lawyers could immediately be reached for comment.
Four current and former Papa John’s franchisees have agreed to pay out nearly $500,000 to New York workers in order to settle a wage theft investigation, New York’s attorney general and the U.S. Labor Department announced on Thursday.
The settlement resolves allegations from workers that they were shorted on pay at nine Papa John’s restaurants in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. According to the state, the franchisees who run the stores admitted to violating minimum wage and overtime laws. The back wages and damages will be doled out to 250 workers who worked at the stores stretching back to 2008.
“Once again, we’ve found Papa John’s franchises in New York that are ripping off their workers and violating critical state and federal laws,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “Once again, I call on Papa John’s and other fast food companies to step up and stop the widespread lawlessness plaguing your businesses and harming the workers who make and deliver your food.”
Since the stores in question were operated by franchisees who are technically the workers’ employers, Papa John’s International, Inc., was not a party to the settlement. A Papa John’s spokesman did not immediately return an email seeking comment on the announcement.
Wage theft is typically treated as a civil matter and often goes unpunished in many states. But Schneiderman’s office has aggressively pursued wage theft as a criminal act, with Papa John’s stores frequently in the investigative crosshairs.
In July, the attorney general’s office arrested Abdul Jamil Khokhar, owner of nine Papa John’s stores in New York, accusing him of breaking minimum wage and overtime laws. According to his plea agreement, Khokhar could serve up to 60 days in jail. In another case, the attorney general’s office secured a judgment of nearly $3 million against two other Papa John’s franchisees.
In a statement Thursday, David Weil, head of the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor, said franchisees who break the rules undercut high-road employers.
“Although franchising is a legitimate business model, it can also be associated with practices that lead to violations of labor standards,” Weil said.
State and federal regulators have been challenging the franchise system on a number of legal fronts in recent years. The National Labor Relations Board has moved to name fast food companies like McDonald’s as “joint employers”alongside franchisees when it comes to labor law violations. Meanwhile, workers who’ve filed class-action suits against their franchisee employers have also sought to have the big fast food brands named as co-defendants in the cases.
“Franchisees must understand that they are not exempt from the law,” Weil said.
If you’re a senior citizen, one of your primary financial goals should be to make sure the money you’ve saved lasts as long as you do. Of course, the most obvious ways to do this are to save as much as possible before you retire, and to use the money from your nest egg wisely. With that in mind, here are three smart ways you may be able to lower your expenses in retirement, and make your savings last as long as possible.
Take advantage of senior discounts
Don’t be afraid to ask for a senior discount when you’re out shopping or dining. Many establishments offer senior discounts, and not all of them are advertised.
Just as a reference, according to theseniorlist.com, there are about 100 restaurant, retail, and grocery store chains that offer senior discounts, and some are quite generous. To name just a few, seniors are entitled to
15% off at Belk on the first Tuesday of each month
20% off at Rite Aid on the first Wednesday of each month
10% off at Chick-Fil-A, or a free drink or coffee
10% off at Wendy’s
5% off at Kroger one day per week
Finally, keep in mind that this just refers to the discounts offered by large chains. Thousands of local and regional businesses offer senior discounts as well. Many are offered to people as young as 55. So, whether or not you consider yourself to be a “senior citizen” just yet, those 10% and 15% discounts can add up to hundreds or even thousands in savings each year.
You can join AARP as early as age 50 at a cost of just $16 per year, and your membership can pay for itself many times over. For starters, many businesses offer additional discounts to AARP members beyond what is discussed above, such as 25% off at Papa John’s and 20% off at Denny’s.
Many travel discounts are available, such as 15% off from Starwood Hotels and Resorts and 5% off from Norwegian Cruise Lines. In addition, AARP runs its own travel center in partnership with Expedia, where members can enjoy discounted rental cars, flights, and hotel rooms that aren’t available to the general public.
AARP members are entitled to other potentially money-saving resources including:
Free tax help — the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide helps 2.6 million taxpayers with their returns each year
Financial planning and estate planning resources
Free webinars covering topics such as Social Security and Medicare
Member-exclusive insurance programs offered through companies such as The Hartford and New York Life
Spend your money wisely
One of the smartest ways seniors can save money is with some responsible tax planning. Specifically, many seniors have their retirement savings spread among several different types of accounts, and the order in which you tap into these can make a big difference.
Any money you have saved in a traditional (taxable) brokerage account should be the first place you turn to withdraw money to meet your expenses. Tax-advantaged accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs should be left alone for as long as possible in order to take advantage of tax-free compounding (you don’t pay capital gains or dividend taxes each year in these accounts).
Once your taxable accounts are exhausted, then and only then does it make sense to tap into retirement accounts. First to go should be your tax-advantaged accounts, such as traditional IRAs and 401(k)s. These have required minimum distributions beginning when you are 70 1/2 years old, and your withdrawals are taxable, so it makes sense to use these next.
Finally, any money you were wise enough to save in Roth accounts should be used last. Roth accounts have no RMD requirements, and all withdrawals after age 59 1/2 are tax-free. So, it makes sense to take advantage of the tax-free growth in your Roth IRA for as long as possible.
The point here is that order matters when it comes to your retirement savings. If you’ve saved money in several account types, by tapping into your savings in a strategic manner, you can save yourself thousands of dollars in taxes over the course of your retirement.