HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Shopping for groceries can be expensive, and the recent drop in Kansas food sales tax was supposed to bring relief, but for some customers, that drop in tax came with a hefty charge in taxes.
On Sunday morning, Andrew Smith and his family headed to the Hutchinson Walmart to stock up.
“That was when we were going to go do our grocery shopping. We shop for a couple of weeks at a time,” said Smith, who dealt with food tax issues at Walmart.
They had a $394 bill, and with three kids, he said that is common.
“Any more that is pretty normal prices and everything going up,” said Smith.
His wife saw a Facebook post about others being charged more. Andrew checked his receipt and did some math to realize it was wrong.
He went back to Walmart, where they told him with the new food sales tax, there are two different tax rates, but then he showed them the math.
“And then it turned into, ‘Oh okay, maybe you were double charged.’ So we sat down and broke everything out based on nonfood and food items refigured the tax how much I should have owed,” said Smith.
He was refunded about $20 and some change.
“$20 is $20. We’ve got three little kids, and groceries are not cheap right now. You gotta stretch that dollar as far as you can,” said Smith.
The Kansas Department of Revenue released this statement to KSN on Tuesday:
The Kansas Department of Revenue is aware of a programming issue that various Walmart stores encountered related to the state sales tax reduction on groceries. The retailer has since resolved the issue.
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’s sales tax reduction on groceries, which began on January 1 does not affect local tax rates.
If a customer did not see that reduction on approved grocery items, they should seek a refund for the excess tax charged by visiting the retailer with a valid receipt.Kansas Department of Revenue
Kansas State Representative Adam Smith said while some things were wrong for customers, this change will take consumer education.
“I knew there was going to be some growing pains since Kansas has never done this before, so it will take some time to get the public used to what is taxable, what is not taxable,” said Kansas Rep. Adam Smith, Weskan (R).
And if you were out and about Sunday, Smith said to double-check your receipt.
The state food sales tax was lowered from 6.5% to 4%. Items that will see this new tax are milk, eggs, meat, and candy. Alcohol, tobacco, and prepared foods are not included.
Only state sales tax on groceries is decreasing, 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 about the tax incident involving their stores.
On Jan. 1, after the reduced state sales tax rate on food items 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 with questions should bring their receipt to their local Walmart store and speak to a member of management.Ashley Nolan, Walmart corporate communications senior manager
The Kansas food sales tax will drop to 2% in 2024 and zero in 2025.
You can learn more about the changes here.