Can a business be reported for charging sales tax on non-taxable items?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott_J, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    I bought a pack of Halls cough drops at the campus convenience store today. They cost 99 cents, and the cashier charged me $1.07 - including the 8.25% NY sales tax. I knew that, under NYS law, cough drops are tax-exempt, as all medications are. I told the cashier that they're not taxable, and she told me I was wrong - which I'm not, confirmed by the link below. I just paid the tax because it was just 8 cents, and I had to get to my class. I'm going to go there tomorrow and talk to the manager about it, see if it's a common practice or just the one cashier (they ring up just the price of each item, not the actual UPC, so the cashiers manually charge tax or not). Pending the result of that discussion, I may seek further action.

    I have 2 questions: I don't like the company that runs the campus food services because of previous negative experiences with them. Now I think I have them. Can I contact the NYS Dept. of Taxation and file a complaint against them? Also, is there an exemption I don't know about that state universities can charges tax on exempt items? I couldn't find anything saying that at the link below. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    http://www.tax.state.ny.us/pdf/publi...Pub750_302.pdf (bottom half of page 18 of the Adobe file)
     
  2. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    Are you sure the drops are tax-exempt? Sales tax laws are pretty complex & don't always make sense. For example, in some places a candy bar is taxed because it's "ready to eat" but a bag of candy bars is considered non-taxable food.

    I would think this stuff is programmed in a database somewhere by UPC number. Maybe there's an error there. That's odd that the cashier is expected to know what's taxable considering how complex the rules are.

    In any case, I doubt the university is intentionally taxing non-taxable items. They have to pass the money on to the state anyway.

    Are you really going to pursue something over 8 cents? I could understand if it were a whole dime, but geez.
     
  3. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    I'm a cashier at a national drug store chain here in town. We don't charge tax on cough drops. I'm not saying they are doing it intentionally. But it's the principal of it. For each pack of cough drops they sell, they (the university and state) make an extra eight cents. I pay enough to go here as it is, don't charge me extra (intentionally or not). Plus, it is a state university (SUNY), so I'm sure they wouldn't be against collection extra tax for the state (again, I'm not accusing them of it).

    Bottom line: I don't even want the 8 cents back - as I said above, it's the principle of it, and previous negative experiences I've had with the company in my 3+ years going here. What if I went there with just $1 in my pocket, knowing it was 99 cents? I'm gonna go there tomorrow and talk to the manager about it - very nicely. Question them charging the tax. IF I feel I don't receive a satisfactory reply (or effort to give me an answer), I'll consider going further with it. Again, it's NOT about the money.
     
  4. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    I would ask the manager about their taxation practices. If it is just an honest mistake by a cashier, that is one thing. If it is an attempt to skim money (i.e. charge taxes for all goods and then the manager embezzles the extra money collected on the non-taxable goods) it is a whole different story.

    J
     
  5. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    > I'm a cashier at a national drug store chain here in town. We don't charge tax on cough drops.

    Why don't you buy them at your store then? Don't you get an employee discount?
     
  6. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    I had 25 minutes till my next class. I had a choice of walking 5 minutes each way to the campus store or drive 10 minutes, each way, to my job to buy it for the same price (no discount if less than $1). As I said, it's a convenience store. If I'm on campus and need something fast (and know they don't charge an arm-and-a-leg for it), I go there.
     
  7. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Perhaps the cashier considers them candy? I know I don't really think of cough drops as medicine in the traditional sense.
     
  8. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    I really think it's ridiculous for cashiers to be expected to know the tax status of every item. Why don't they have a scanner in the store.
     
  9. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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  10. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    Talk to your school newspaper. They should be happy to lead the investigation.
     
  11. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    Regarding cough drops being regarded as candy, that's understandable (although I've never seen a listing of Drug Facts on the back of a bag of M&M's [​IMG]).

    I didn't get a chance to go there yesterday to chat with the manager. Don, that's a good idea that I didn't think about. Thanks.
     

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