Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

The Problem with Sales Tax

Donít you hate when the price on what you are buying is different than your final price? Well that is exactly what happens in most sales in the United States of America.

When we buy food and gas, we know exactly how much we are going to pay. If gas is $2 a gallon and you buy 10 gallons, then you are going to pay exactly $20. Tax is already included in the original price, so you can easily calculate what you are really going to pay at the cash register. This is the exact opposite of when you buy something from most stores. If you buy something for a dollar, you will most likely end up paying $1.06 for that $1 item.

This sales tax that is added at the end of each and every sale in the United States is downright misleading. That is why stores intentionally sell their products with purchase prices ending with 95 or 99 cents. For example, people are more willing to buy something (most likely a future yard sale item) for $9.99, because $10 would seem too much for it. But at the register, we are going to pay more than $10 for it after sales tax.

Furthermore, each county and state has a different amount for sales tax. Where I live, the sales tax is 6%; but just 10 minutes away, the sales tax is 7.5%. This is confusing for us local people; can you imagine someone from out of town? In most countries, the listed purchase price is the final price with all the taxes already included in the beginning. Now, can you imagine how deceitful sales tax appears to foreigners?

When I am waiting in line at a cash register to purchase a few items, I like to calculate the final price (including sales tax) ahead of time in my head, so that I can prepare the exact amount of money that I will need to make the purchase more quickly. With the sales tax never being consistent between different areas and the difficulty of multiplying in my head, I often calculate the final price incorrectly. I am not surprised by this, but I am upset, especially when the alternative is so easily possible.

Why does the United States of America allow taxes to be calculated at the end of sale, when the final purchasing price is much more useful to the consumer when shopping? Sales tax is intentionally misleading to the point of being confusing and deceitful. Do you like shopping when stores are obviously trying to swindle you out of your money?

by Phil for Humanity
on 02/09/2007

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