Sunday, July 24, 2011

Check your receipts carefully (revisited topic)

I have written about checking your receipts carefully before for restaurants and grocery stores, but not for other retail purchases.  Yesterday, at a mid-upper scale clothing store, I was quite taken when the taxes the sales rep was going to charge me were about $75 on a $210 purchase.  When he read the total charges to me, it didn't sound right, as tax couldn't be that high, but he probably read it back to me wrong, so I just waited for the actual receipt to sign.  When I went to sign my receipt, I noticed that it was no joke.  Something was clearly wrong, as the store was going to heap on a ~ 36% tax, when it should have been only 6%.

I showed the receipt to the rep and he quickly acknowledged the mistake and credited me back the difference.  However, I can't help to wonder if it were he who made the mistake, or the cash register was malfunctioning.  Moreover, if it was a machine error, how many others had been affected?

There are two lessons here: first, check your receipts, always; second, know your state sales tax rate.  Especially at grocery stores, some items are taxable, and some are not (typically food and drugs).  For more information on state sales tax rates, visit the Federation of Tax Administrators' website.