Some Kansas shoppers taxed twice on groceries as new state food tax rate starts

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – 12News has heard from several viewers since Sunday that they noticed something was wrong with their grocery receipt.

Some Kansas buyers experienced double taxation on the entire subtotal of the items they purchased.

It was the first cut in the state grocery sales tax rate to go into effect Sunday.

Shawn Lawrence said, “Instead of paying the 5 percent, I literally paid 12.5 percent in tax on my grocery bill.”

On Sunday, Lawrence went to his local Walmart to stock his pantry and did most of his grocery shopping. He didn’t pay much attention to his receipt until he got home.

“I actually didn’t notice the error until I got home and my son-in-law said the tax rate had changed, so we looked at that and then I looked at it a little more closely.” said Lawrence.

Lawrence started to do the math, and that’s when he realized something was wrong. He was taxed twice on the subtotal of all the items he bought.

That led him back into the store.

“She is [store employ] Well, we’re having a breakdown, and I was like, okay, you need to let people know that’s happening because they’re going to be charged extra taxes,” he said.

Lawrence said after initially hearing the employee say it was the government’s fault, he spoke to the manager, who said there was a request to fix the internal system that manages what taxes people are billed.

Under Kansas’ new grocery sales tax rate, most groceries will be taxed at four percent plus local sales tax — like Sedgwick County’s one percent. There are exceptions for items that continue to be taxed at the old tax rate of 6.5 percent plus local tax.

Lawrence was not alone. Another Wichita shopper shared her Walmart receipt with just five groceries to be taxed at the new reduced rate. Instead, she was taxed twice at the subtotal, once at the reduced tax rate and once at the existing tax rate.

Lawrence said, “Most people won’t even notice. It’s such a small amount on each ticket that most people won’t even notice.”

Lawrence said what frustrated him wasn’t the extra money he paid, but that the store failed to let other customers know. He shared the issue on Facebook, where people shared similar experiences at other Kansas Walmarts and some at other grocery stores.

“[Manager] was like, we can take care of that with you and give you a gift certificate but I thought yeah that’s fine but I said there are literally other people who have no idea this is going on,” said Lawrence.

12News reached out to the Kansas Department of Treasury and Walmart regarding the issue and is awaiting feedback.

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