Kansas says glitch that double-taxed Walmart customers has been fixed
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The state sales tax on groceries in Kansas dropped from 6.5% to 4% on New Year's Day, but a glitch had unsuspecting Walmart customers paying both tax rates on their whole purchases.
The Kansas Department of Revenue said it is aware of the "programming issue" that various Walmart stores encountered and that the retailer has resolved the issue.
Walmart also released the following statement:
"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state sales tax rate on food items went into effect in Kansas, some customers were mistakenly charged the higher, outdated rate, along with the new rate.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."
This means that customers paid 10.5% in state sales tax on top of double local taxes. One person who visited a Walmart in Goddard on Wednesday shared a receipt that shows "tax 1" at 8.5% and "tax 2" at 6% for a total of 14.5% sales tax that he paid on his whole purchase.
The receipt was time stamped at 9:03 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2023. Walmart's statement that the issue had been fixed was sent to KAKE News at 9:34 a.m.
The KDOR said affected customers should seek a refund for the excess tax charged by visiting the retailer with a valid receipt.
Kansas' new lower state sales tax on groceries has gone into effect. It now stands at 4%.
Shopper Carol Snyder is excited.
"It's just, just a relief that it's not going up. It's going down for a change," she commented. "It's been so, you know, so offensive to go to the store and have it go up and up and up every time you go to the store."
The lower tax rate is the first step in a 3-year process to get rid of it completely. But Governor Laura Kelly is already encouraging lawmakers to go ahead and eliminate the state sales tax on groceries, diapers and feminine hygiene products immediately.
Political Science Professor Russell Arben Fox from Friends University says it will probably not happen.
"I don't think the dynamics that led us to the existing arrangement are really gonna be all that different in 2023," he pointed out.
He says that the plan to phase out grocery taxes was a compromise.
"Grocery bills, however, is something that most ordinary folks will notice. So yeah, I think people will notice it, maybe not everybody, maybe not in as dramatic a way as it might possibly be noticed, but people are gonna notice it," he added.
As someone who goes shopping multiple times per week, Carol Snyder says she'll take any relief she can get.
"I'm happy to see our government and our government governing agencies are able to be responsive to that section of our income," Snyder said. "It's important to me, it's important to my grandkids and great grandkids. They don't have a lot of extra money, and you know, a break on the food is...makes a lot of difference to them."