overcharge on sales tax

andrelaplume2June 12, 2013

I recently bought a dehumidifier on SamsClub.com. It was not in stock anywhere lcoally and I am a member, the price was cheap and home delivery was only $8.

However..after receiving the item I was about to go over to my club and buy a service contract. I noticed that they appear to have computed my sales wrong. I live in PA, sales tax is: 6%. The product was $220, tax should be: $13.20...they charge $18.25!

I called samsclub.com...essentially the dude said all he knows is thats what the computer says the tax should be.

Ok, not a huge difference but if it were a $1500 item, it would be.

Am I missing something here?

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> Am I missing something here?

Maybe that gardenweb isn't the franchise tax board, or Sam's either?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I am asking if anyone has had any experience ordering appliances online and if, since its an online order, there are some special tax cnditions that apply that I may not be aware....that others have discovered.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:58AM
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If you live in Philly you are already at 8%.
You paid 8.3% of total so if you include tax on shipping charge, that would be it.

Here is a link that might be useful: info

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 12:11PM
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The sales tax varies with the location, as there are local sales taxes in addition to the statewide rate. For instance, the tax rate in Philadelphia is 8%, not 6%. It looks to me as though you were charged 8% on the product+shipping.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 12:17PM
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Sometimes computers do make mistakes - I've had two instances in the past where this has happened (not on appliances) - you need to be persistent and escalate the issue if you're sure you're right. On the other hand, as others have pointed out, there are local sales taxes as well as state sales taxes so they should have used the rate for your particular address.

If Congress does pass the internet sales tax bill, this whole thing will become a giant administrative nightmare.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 12:30PM
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If I got to wally world down the street an buy the same sucker...if it ever is in stock..I will pay 6%...so I overpaid by 2%...what does Samsclub do with that $$$?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:47PM
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If you feel you were overcharged, report it to your state tax board. I did this when I found out that an item I wanted to order online had sales tax added, when it was not taxed in my state. When I protested to the merchant, I was told they charged sales tax on everything because they couldn't keep track of local rules (!) BTW the company had local stores which did not charge sales tax on that class of item.

I reported it to the Consumer Protection division in the Attorney General's office who passed it along to the state tax board. They confirmed my experience and wrote a cease and desist letter to the company, with a copy to me. I have no idea if the company complied, or what they did with the tax they were collecting.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 5:52PM
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Well, as I said above, if you're sure the sales tax at your delivery address is 6%, then you should call Sam's Club back and ask for someone in the billing department who has some authority. I'm pretty sure they'll refund you the difference. It's possible their software just charges the highest rate for the state but they're not supposed to do that. Also, the amount charged is supposed to be based on the delivery address, not the billing address. That's one of the issues that I had in the past - I sent a gift to NH (no sales tax) but was charged MA sales tax because that was my billing address. I was first told that their computer did it correctly but when I insisted that they were wrong, they put me on hold for a few minutes and came back and said they would refund me the difference.

If the internet sales tax bill passes, merchants will have to deal with HUNDREDS of different tax rates, not just 50, because of different local taxes and the fact that some states have different tax rates on different items - e.g. clothing, food.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 6:44PM
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this thread fails to deliver

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:38PM
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If Sams collected that as tax, they will pay it to the state of Pennsylvania (and the city of Philadelphia if the extra 2% goes to them).

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:46PM
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Weissman - I agree that online retailers will have to deal with hundreds of different tax rates, let alone temporary "tax holidays", limits on what's taxed and what's not (think limits for clothing) but I don't see it being such a big deal in this day and age. Someone will maintain a real time database that everyone can access at the time of sale, and records will be kept. As a consumer I won't like it, but if it means my state is getting the revenue it's already legally due but never gets, I've got no issue with it. And if it helps my local B&M I mind even less.

Incorrect tax being charged, now that I WOULD have an issue with.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Weissman is correct. Sales tax rate is for point of delivery. You should get a refund, if only because of the principle of the thing.

I'm a merchant in New York State, so as an "authorized sales tax collector" I can tell you how it works here. If I ship an item within NYS but out of my county, I need to charge the sales tax for the county of delivery. If I did this incorrectly and it were called to my attention, I would issue the buyer a sales tax adjustment. I'm pretty sure there's even a space on my sales tax filing for adjustments from other filing periods. You asked where the money went, and I would guess that Sam's Club pays the excess sales tax to the state. It would have been coded as sales tax in their registers. That means the sale must have been coded to the wrong locality/county or else their tax tables are incorrect.

If PA works like NY, you should be able to obtain a sales tax adjustment.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 2:56PM
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Ditto - point of delivery should be the tax. Go for the refund..

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 7:52PM
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Ditto - point of delivery should be the tax. Go for the refund..

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 8:01PM
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The merchant sales tax return for my state does not ask how much tax was collected ... it asks how much were taxable sales for the period, which number is multiplied by the tax rate to calculate what the merchant owes to the state.

So if a merchant overcollects tax, that doesn't change taxable sales for calculating the tax to be paid-in. The excess amount would presumably remain in the tax account on the merchant's books unless there is auditing.

I've caught / noticed numerous times that excess tax was effectively charged by way of always rounding up instead of the more-acceptable 5/4 method. Or a merchant may calculate and round each taxing jurisdiction separately (state, city, county, etc.) which also can effectively result in a higher total tax than the "legal" maximum aggregate rate.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 8:36PM
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