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Kansas customers face extra charges after implementation of new food sales tax

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Buying groceries can be expensive, and Kansas’s recent food sales tax drop should bring relief, but for some shoppers, that tax drop came with a hefty tax levy.

On Sunday morning, Andrew Smith and his family went to the Hutchinson Walmart to stock up.

“It was when we were going to do our grocery shopping. We shop for a few weeks at a time,” said Smith, who handled food tax issues at Walmart.

Walmart receipt error after new food sales tax (Courtesy of Andrew Smith)

They had a $394 bill, and with three kids, he said that’s common.

“More than that, it’s pretty normal prices and everything going up,” Smith said.

His wife saw a post on Facebook about other people being overcharged. Andrew checked his receipt and did some math to realize he was wrong.

He went back to Walmart where he was told with the new food sales tax there are two different tax rates but then he showed the math.

“And then it became like, ‘Okay, maybe you were charged twice.’ So we sat down and broke it down based on non-food and food items, resetting the tax to how much I owe,” Smith said.

He was refunded about $20 and some change.

“R$20 is R$20. We have three small children and groceries are not cheap now. You need to stretch that dollar as far as you can,” Smith said.

The Kansas Department of Revenue released this statement to KSN on Tuesday:

The Kansas Department of Revenue is aware of a scheduling issue that several Walmart stores have encountered related to the state tax reduction on grocery sales. The retailer has already fixed the problem.

Customers with grocery purchases made on or after January 1, 2023 should have seen a 2.5% reduction in the state sales tax rate. The state tax reduction on grocery sales, which began Jan. 1, does not affect local tax rates.

If a customer has not seen this reduction on approved grocery items, they must request a refund for the overage tax charged by visiting the retailer with a valid receipt.

Kansas Department of Revenue

Kansas State Representative Adam Smith said that while some things were wrong with customers, this change will require consumer education.

“I knew there would be some growing pains as Kansas has never done this before, so it will take some time for the public to get used to what is taxable, what is not taxable,” said Kansas Representative Adam Smith. , Weskan (R).

And if you were out on Sunday, Smith said to double-check your receipt.

The state tax on food sales was reduced from 6.5% to 4%. The items that will have this new tax are milk, eggs, meat and sweets. Alcohol, tobacco and prepared foods are not included.

Only the state tax on groceries sales is coming down, so city and county taxes still apply. In Sedgwick County, the sales tax rate is 1%.

Walmart sent KSN News the following statement on Wednesday regarding the tax incident involving its stores.

On January 1, after the reduced state food sales tax rate went into effect in Kansas, some customers were mistakenly charged the higher, outdated rate along with the new rate. The issue has been resolved and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Customers seeking a refund or having questions should bring their receipt to their local Walmart store and speak with a member of management.

Ashley Nolan, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at Walmart

Kansas’ food sales tax will drop to 2% in 2024 and zero in 2025.

You can learn more about the changes here.