That’s the headline from this story in Sunday’s Post-Gazette.
In Pennsylvania, the sales tax is 6 percent, but it’s 7 percent in a few counties (mine included).
Many items are not taxed, including most clothing, foods, healthcare items, and other necessities including toilet paper.
However, an informal study conducted by the newspaper found that some stores were charging sales tax on non-taxable items.
Just as it’s a good idea to check your receipt before leaving the store to make sure you weren’t overcharged, it’s a good idea to make sure you weren’t overtaxed. Your receipt might have a special designation next to each item that was taxed, such as a T or a * or a + or something. Sure, it might amount to "just" a few cents, but over time, it can add up.
Why donate your hard-earned money to the government?
Get your money back. Go to the customer service desk, speak to a manager, and let him or her know you were inappropriately taxed. You should be given a refund, and they should adjust the item in their system so that other people aren’t taxed on it.
Here’s a PDF of items that are taxable or non taxable within the commonwealth. It’s a long list. Start on page 18.
Items that caught my attention:
- Single-issue magazines are taxed; magazine subscriptions aren’t (yet another reason to save money by subscribing!)
- Girdles are nontaxable. Lol. I guess those are necessary for some.
- Rainwear is nontaxable; umbrellas are taxed.
- Sunburn "preventives" are taxed; sunburn treatment isn’t. Personally, I’d rather prevent sunburn. It seems like a health necessity.
- Body piercings and tattoos are not taxed. I don’t understand the logic there.
- Health club membership fees are not taxed.
What are the sales tax rules in your state? Do you have to have a 50-page guide to figure it out, or is it more broad? Do you check your receipts to make sure you weren’t overtaxed? I haven’t in the past, but you can bet I will from now on.