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City Officials Prepare To Increase Enforcement Of Sweetened Beverage Tax

CITY HALL (CBS) -- Philadelphia City officials say they're stepping up enforcement of the sweetened beverage tax. City officials say distributors who haven't signed up to pay the tax could be hit with fines.

Revenue officials say that, after months of outreach, preparing for the tax, more than 400 distributors have registered. But, they believe there are still some out there who haven't. So, Deputy Commissioner Marisa Waxman said, they are "entering a new phase."

"Now our investigators, they're still coming in and doing education and awareness, making sure folks understand what to do, but now we really want to see that documentation. And if it's not there on that first visit, we'll set up a second visit and they can't produce it on that second visit, that's when things start to escalate."

Waxman said that means a formal audit, maybe legal action, maybe fines up to one-thousand dollars, though that's not the goal.

"Our goal is to get folks to do what they need to do voluntarily," she said.

Compliance is already higher than projected. The tax brought in 5.5 million dollars in its first month, double what was expected. Finance officials have increased projections for month two, due Monday, to 6.3 million.

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