I love it when I get reader questions. Here is one I received recently:
“I was shopping at CVS and ended up getting my items for free, but yet, I ended up having to pay a small amount. They told me that I still had to pay sales tax. Is this true?”
This is a very good question and the answer is — it depends. First of all, if you read a coupon, the fine print says that the customer must pay any sales tax. That is why it is always important to read the fine print on everything.
Secondly, each state sets it’s own rules as to whether you will pay sales tax pre-coupon total or post-coupon totals. That can actually make a difference on the final amount you have to pay to the store.
It is important to find this information for your state. Since I live in Missouri, I know that our state charges sales tax on the post-coupon value, whereas the neighboring state of Kansas charges based upon pre-coupon totals. The majority of states do charge sales tax on your original purchase price, but definitely do your homework before you shop!