Bipartisan Bill Will Provide Tax Credit to Food and Beverage Distributors

July 21, 2020 by Dan McCue
The bar on the Columbia Firehouse restaurant, Alexandria, Va. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – Reps. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., and Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., introduced a bill Tuesday providing a tax credit to food and beverage distributors to cover debt incurred for products shipped, but not yet paid for, due the coronavirus outbreak.

The legislation is intended to help those in the food and beverage supply chain who shipped products in good faith only to see the recipient restaurants and bars shut down due to the pandemic.

LaHood and Panetta’s Providing Liquidity for Uncollectible Sales (PLUS) Act tax credit would be a 100% tax credit that these distributors could take for uncollectible debt from food and beverage establishments that were ordered to close for at least 30 days between March 25 and July 15.

“Through no fault of their own, many establishments were forced to close and now face significant capacity restrictions as states reopen,” LaHood said in a statement. “The bipartisan PLUS Act will allow distributors to continue supporting their customers during this difficult time while covering previous purchases that food and beverage establishments will be unlikely to cover due to forced closures.”

“The PLUS Act will provide our foodservice distributors with tax credits to offset any uncollectible debt,” Panetta said in the same statement. “By providing them with this tax credit, we are helping the food distributors keep their employees on payroll during this pandemic and preserving this crucial supply chain for the future.”

The legislation received support from the United Fresh Produce Association and the National Fisheries Institute on Tuesday. Both commended the bill for helping foodservice distributors.

“Produce foodservice distributors absorbed a devastating blow with the spring shutdown of the restaurant and hotel industry. The impact of lost inventory and unpaid bills is not recoverable,” said Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of United Fresh Produce Association.

“I commend Representatives LaHood and Panetta for introducing the Providing Liquidity for Uncollectible Sales (PLUS) Act, a helpful solution to an insurmountable challenge for produce foodservice distributors and the companies on both ends of their business agreements,” Stenzel said.

John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute agreed.“Family-owned seafood businesses support restaurants by providing fish on credit, but now are stuck with billions in debt owed them by these customers,” Connelly agreed. “This legislation will significantly help revive a complex system that brings seafood from water to table. If we don’t have functioning distributors bringing seafood to market, fish will simply rot on the dock, affecting everyone from boat owners to restaurateurs.” “

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