Monday, July 1, 2013

Shopping- Tax Exempt Style

Happy July friends! Tonight, I'm dedicating this post to shopping- tax exempt style. Why? Because it is funny how almost every retailer has a different way that they handle tax exempt sales. After nine years of shopping, I still find it amusing. On Saturday, I realized that I had a coupon that was about to expire for trash bags- we use them to discard stuffed animals that don't meet our criteria. So, I zoomed down to Target to buy my bags. Target is one of the easier stores to shop at with your sales tax exempt certificate. However, this time the cashier didn't know how to process the coupon and the tax exempt, so she told me that coupons couldn't be used for tax exempt sales. Obviously, this isn't true. I told her that wasn't right, so she called over the supervisor to help. The cashier told the supervisor that I wanted to use "both tax exempt and a coupon" with a tone that made it sound like I was trying to rip off the store. The supervisor showed her how to input them both- easily done. I laughed as I drove home thinking about all the experiences I've had using our tax exempt certificate. Shopping at Family Dollar used to be a nightmare when it came to checking out. The sales associates were evidently never trained properly in how to process a tax exempt sale because almost no one could figure it out. They always used to call a manager to do it. It has gotten a lot better over the last few years and is a relatively simple process now.

Shopping at I Party is another one of the worst shopping experiences with a tax exempt certificate. They make you fill out an additional tax form every time you shop at the same store- a giant time sucker for everyone involved and those standing in line behind you. Big Lots used to do this as well- I haven't shopped there for supplies recently, so I don't know if they still do. A.C. Moore used to do this as well which always took forever. They recently changed their procedure.

A  number of stores have you fill out a form and give your documentation, then they give you a special tax exempt card for their store. You hand that to the cashier at the start of the transaction and they enter the info. Staples, Walmart, Best Buy and now A.C. Moore all do this now.

Other stores ask you for your driver's license every time you make a purchase with the tax exempt certificate- even with the store card. Some stores print out a receipt after each purchase where you have to fill out your contact info (Target and others).

I don't know why stores have such a vastly different way of handling tax exempt sales. There are thousands of tax exempt organizations that shop- all using the same type of certificate. Maybe it is because the tax code is complicated, so different stores handle it in different ways. I don't mind the tax exempt store card- it is simple once you get the card. Associates should always have proper training so they know their store's policy and how to process the sale. The process should be efficient so that when you come in with a certificate, you don't have to fill out additional forms every time you shop- that is just annoying. Imagine if you had to do that every time you checked out at the grocery store??

Well, that's my piece on shopping- tax exempt style! Until tomorrow friends...

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