EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 19, 2013

Andover restaurant closed, seized by state over unpaid taxes

By Dustin Luca
dluca@eagletribune.com

---- — ANDOVER — Dylan’s Bar & Grill, a decade-old downtown restaurant on Park Street, has been closed and seized by the state for failure to pay taxes.

The eatery, led by owner Sam Petrovich for more than a decade, was seized by state Department of Revenue examiners on Nov. 12 as part of an attempt to collect $191,763 in unpaid taxes, according to Ann Dufresne, director of communications.

The bulk of the taxes owed by Petrovich — around 95 percent — was racked up through the state’s meals tax, going as far back as May 2010, according to Dufresne.

The remaining portion of the owed tax includes around $9,400 in local meals taxes and $67 in withheld employee taxes, Dufresne said.

As part of the seizure, the contents of the restaurant are set to be auctioned off to the public at an auction on Dec. 3. Everything inside the restaurant that has been seized — cash registers, equipment, seats and more — can be sold to help offset the taxes owed, according to Dufresne.

The auction will take place at Dylan’s, 18 Park St., but a time hadn’t been set as of yesterday, according to Dufresne.

“Whatever the assets are that are produced by the auction will go toward the outstanding tax obligation, and whatever remains will remain the taxpayer’s obligation,” Dufresne said.

State seizures for unpaid taxes are rare, with none being reported in Andover over the last two years and only around 75 carried out by the Department of Revenue across the state annually, according to Dufresne.

“Oftentimes, what happens with a seizure... it’s a wake-up call for the taxpayer,”

While Dufresne said she couldn’t talk specifics on Petrovich’s case due to confidentiality restrictions, she said seizures are typically a last resort for the Department of Revenue.

“This is an indication we’ve been working with the taxpayer for an extended period of time to deal with back taxes,” she said. “Before we get to this point, we work with the taxpayer. We send them notices, telephone calls, we try to work out payment agreements with them. In some cases, we do work out payment agreements.”

Petrovich couldn’t be reached for comment. In an earlier interview discussing the restaurant’s sudden closure, Petrovich said “it was time to move on” and that he wanted to “be positive” about the situation.

The restaurant’s official website confirms that it has closed and thanks “everyone for over 10 years of great memories. We truly appreciate your business. Please look for an announcement on our new location.”

Last week, however, Petrovich said the restaurant has no immediate plans to open elsewhere.

Property owner Schnellinger Dagmar said she planned to lease the space out to a new tenant when it becomes available, be it a restaurant or any other business.

The tax burden is specifically on Petrovich’s shoulders and doesn’t affect the property itself, according to Dagmar.

“The property is fine,” she said. “I pay my taxes.”

The auction of the restaurant’s assets can be avoided if Petrovich pays the full amount owed before the auction takes place, according to Dufresne. While seizures don’t have any form of an appeal system, filing for bankruptcy could also delay the process.