City of Atlanta Announced a CPA Statement is Required for Restaurants to Renew their Alcohol License

November 11, 2021

At a glance

  • The main takeaway: The City of Atlanta has decided to move forward with the compliance of ordinance 10-106(c) which would require restaurants to provide a CPA statement to renew their alcohol license.
  • Impact on your business: Many restaurants are still struggling post-pandemic and a sales audit can take considerable time and cost, especially for restaurateurs that do not have these types of audits performed regularly. The ambiguity of the ordinance is also adding to the uncertainty of complying with this ordinance.
  • Next steps: Stay tuned as Aprio is continuing to request more guidance on how to proceed and will provide updates as they are made available.

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The full story:

The City of Atlanta has decided to move forward with the compliance of ordinance 10-106(c) with the effective date of November 1, 2021. While all alcohol licenses expire on December 31 of each year, ordinance 10-106(c) requires any business classified as a restaurant selling alcoholic beverages to customers provide the Atlanta Police Department, at time of renewal, a statement from a certified public accountant (CPA) detailing how much of their annual sales are alcohol versus food.

The concern is that after 18 months of unprecedented struggles, the timing of this enforcement will cause hardships for restaurants as a CPA statement is not required unless a revenue audit is completed. An audit like this can cost thousands of dollars and take several weeks, even when it is a regular part of your restaurant’s compliance procedures. In many cases, City of Atlanta restaurants have never had a revenue audit. The set up for a first year can take even longer and be more expensive. The short window in which the City of Atlanta is giving its restaurateurs to get into compliance with this ordinance is certainly creating a hardship on the restaurateurs.

How will this impact you?

The city has not given any guidance on how a CPA statement should be reported, which is why the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) along with local attorneys are trying to push the city to provide proper guidance and accept something less than a certified statement which would require an extensive audit. “Our hope is that the city will agree to either accept a Profit and Loss or Point of Sale printout reflecting the restaurant’s annual food-to-beverage sales and allow that to be attested to by the owner or licensee rather than requiring restaurants to hire a CPA to provide a similar attestation,” says Michele Stumpe, litigation attorney for Taylor English Duma LLP.

The bottom line

Aprio is continuing to monitor the situation and will provide guidance as more updates unfold. However, the GRA has suggested voicing how this ordinance will impact your business by reaching out the Mayor’s office by calling The GRA has suggested voicing how this will impact you by reaching out to the Mayor’s office by calling 404.330.6100 and all of City Council at

For complete details on ordinance 10-106(c) and required documentation, click here.

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About the Author

Tommy Lee

Tommy is the partner-in-charge of Aprio's Restaurant, Franchise & Hospitality group. His practice focuses on small and mid-sized retail, franchise and hospitality companies and real estate firms. Tommy has expertise in corporate structuring arrangements, multi-state and international tax planning, and corporate and individual tax mitigation.