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View Full Version : The Sales Tax Issue


Dave1982
01-17-2009, 01:34 PM
Was reminded of this in another thread but didn't want to hijack.

Last night a woman came in looking for a sale laptop. I'd worked with her earlier in the week, and apparently she also came in on my day off to ask more questions. Unfortunately for her, we were now out of that laptop. If she'd decided to get it either of the other two times she came in, she'd have gotten one, but she waited too long and we ran out. So I had to send her to a store half an hour away to get one.

She took it well, and even complimented myself and one of my colleagues to the MOD.

So far so good. Why an SC?

Because on her way out she said "good thing for you you DON'T have one, because I was going to haggle you on the sales tax issue."

Me: :confused::eek:

It seems that on her previous visit (when I was off) she got into an argument with this manager about sales tax. Specifically, she didn't want to pay it. She lives in Massachusetts, is shopping in Massachusetts, and is therefore legally obligated to pay sales tax (not that living out of state would have changed that), but doesn't want to pay it? :wtf:

She wanted us to either 1) coupon off the tax or 2) mark down the laptop in such as way that the tax would bring it back to the shelf price or 3) just not charge the tax at all or 4) charge a reduced tax.

Lady, sales tax isn't optional. It's the LAW. It's not company policy. It's the LAW. It's not something that can be haggled over. It's the LAW!!!!!! If you feel it's an issue, write to the state legislature. Do NOT pester me, my boss, or any other employee about it, because we can't do a damn thing about it.

By the way, the laptop in question was on sale for $550, marked down from $800. So she was already saving $250 on it, and was quibbling over $27.50 in tax.

Mike Taylor
01-17-2009, 05:56 PM
Where do people get the idea that sales tax is optional? If you are shopping in an area where a sales tax exists, you have to pay it. It's that simple.

Broomjockey
01-17-2009, 06:02 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're from elsewhere, aren't there sometimes procedures for having your sales tax refunded?

Not that this actually would apply to this lady, now that I notice she lives there. Geez. What a Twitticus.

BookstoreEscapee
01-17-2009, 06:08 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're from elsewhere, aren't there sometimes procedures for having your sales tax refunded?

Probably in some circumstances. But at the store level, unless you have a tax exempt number (for a school or non-profit organization, say, and you are legitimately buying for them) you pay the sales tax at the point of purchase. If there is some other reason to get your tax refunded (key word: refund), there's probably some kind of form you get through the state/county tax office.

Mike Taylor
01-17-2009, 06:10 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're from elsewhere, aren't there sometimes procedures for having your sales tax refunded?

Not that this actually would apply to this lady, now that I notice she lives there. Geez. What a Twitticus.

International customers have a way of getting that part of their money back, as was mentioned in another thread.

Animae
01-17-2009, 06:15 PM
Yes, you can get tax back if you are from another country. But you do it at the airport. Not in the store. People haggle over the tax at my coffee shop, because we are near a county line.

"why is my coffee two cents more expensive here? Then one by my house is cheaper!"

"taxes ma'am."

"well thats stupid!"

Cause I control this shit. I just roll my eyes at them.

loveisuneven
01-17-2009, 07:27 PM
once at the coffeeshop there was this old lady who refused to pay the sales tax on a dozen bagels she bought
she was convinced because it was grocery she didn't have to pay tax.... but... we were a franchised coffeehouse, not a grocery store :confused:

she ended up walking out after arguing for a good 20 minutes, and my CW put his own money in to pay for her tax....
RIDICULOUS!

Elspeth
01-17-2009, 07:35 PM
Actually in Washington State, Oregon residents don't have to pay sales tax. If I remember right from my days working at Ross. They have to show id, we have to fill out a book and they sign it.

I hated it. Plus I don't think it is right.

Nashida
01-17-2009, 08:43 PM
I'm pretty sure New Hampshire doesn't have a sales tax, I can't remember. Still didn't make it any more fun when we got the random NH-ers in the store and quibbling over MA state tax.

It's not optional. You're not in NH anymore.

Heck, from the other side of the spectrum, I get confused every time I shop somewhere with no sales tax. Throws me for a loop when I discover I mave more change than I should because I'm so used to paying 5%.

BookstoreEscapee
01-17-2009, 08:56 PM
I'm pretty sure New Hampshire doesn't have a sales tax, I can't remember. Still didn't make it any more fun when we got the random NH-ers in the store and quibbling over MA state tax.

New Hampshire, Delaware, Alaska, Oregon, Montana.

Shpepper
01-17-2009, 09:04 PM
Actually in Washington State, Oregon residents don't have to pay sales tax. If I remember right from my days working at Ross. They have to show id, we have to fill out a book and they sign it.

I hated it. Plus I don't think it is right.

It's only that way for durable goods. They can't claim tax exemptions for food, hotel stays or anything that is consumed within the state. Clothing, cars appiances, things like that they can get the exemption. and yeat it is a PITA. I don;t have to deal with it much anymore but I did at the grocery store. it was fun to tell people there that we didn't do the exemption because we were are the nrthern end of the state.

Elspeth
01-17-2009, 09:26 PM
It's only that way for durable goods. They can't claim tax exemptions for food, hotel stays or anything that is consumed within the state. Clothing, cars appiances, things like that they can get the exemption. and yeat it is a PITA. I don;t have to deal with it much anymore but I did at the grocery store. it was fun to tell people there that we didn't do the exemption because we were are the nrthern end of the state.

Ah that makes sense. Never knew it was only on certain things, thought it was across the broad. Yeah I have learned my one new thing for the day.

I do love going down to Oregon, I try and plan some purchases if we are going to be there any way. Now if they would just let you pump your own gas. ;)

Jack Doe
01-20-2009, 03:53 AM
(I hate being "that guy"...)

Actually, with the exception of the aforementioned states, sales tax IS optional when it comes to the customer/purchaser. Sales tax is, by definition, a tax on a retailer on the total amount of the sales transaction. It is not a tax on the individual purchasing the items, nor is it a tax on the product. It is a tax on the sale. Now, taking my very own South Carolina as an example, the retailer has the option of passing the tax along to the consumer, but it is not required to. Most retailer who are in areas where sales taxes are assessed either do this at the point of sale, or they incorporate the amount of the tax into the shelf price. Again, they do have the option of assuming the tax themselves, but that cuts into the bottom line and is not widely regarded as a smart business move. What the lady in the OP seemed to be trying to do is get the store to assume the tax, which went against store policy. But, to reiterate (I should just make this my sig) store policy does not trump state/federal law, nor is it law (in this case, it was in line with the law.)

Dave1982
01-20-2009, 04:42 AM
What are you talking about? That may be the way it works in South Carolina, but it isn't the way it works in Mass (where the incident took place). I have read Mass DOR guidelines on Sales Taxes, and can't find anything to support that.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/35wf6z

I suppose that a business could mark items with tax-inclusive prices, but they are still required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to list and charge the tax separately.

And if it's really a tax on the business, why is there a concurrent Use Tax on goods not purchased in the Commonwealth?

EDIT: Ok, I think I understand what you're saying. You mean that it isn't the law that the consumer pay the tax, only that the tax be paid (by the retailer if not the consumer). Well, that would be a pretty stupid business move, but from what I've read, the intent of the tax law is that the consumer pays it. If that wasn't the intent, I don't think there would be Use Taxes.

In any case, it still must be paid, and it sure as hell isn't going to be by any retailer I know.

2ND EDIT:
It is unlawful for a vendor to advertise or state to the public or any customer, directly or indirectly, that the sales tax, or any part of it, will be assumed or absorbed by the vendor, or that it will not be added to the selling price or that it will be refunded in whole or in part.

So yes, actually, it IS the law.

Gabrielle Proctor
01-20-2009, 04:55 AM
My grandmother lives in Deleware,
How I love shopping there.

Manga, games, and clothes,
Even box sets of my favorite shows.

Drowning in pennies would be my biggest fear,
If there were no sales tax here.

:D