Mom charged sales tax on school supplies during tax-free weekend

Mom charged sales tax on school supplies during tax-free weekend (Image 1)

A Wilson County mother noticed she was charged sales tax on items Tennessee exempted for sales tax during the Sales Tax Holiday weekend.

Denise Pishotta is warning other parents who went back-to-school shopping over the weekend to check their receipts to makes sure they were not incorrectly charged sales tax.

The weekend holiday applied to clothing purchases under $100, computer purchases under $1,500 and school supply purchases under $100.

School supplies are defined by state law as items used by a student in a course of study.

Pishotta purchased a lunch box and glue sticks at Target in Mt. Juliet on Sunday.

“I just happened to be looking down at my receipt when I was walking out,” she said. “I noticed a ‘T’ next to some of the school supplies, which stands for tax.”

Pishotta pointed out the taxes to a customer service representative who told her that the computer automatically processes the tax exempt items.

“She said it is put into the computer, and I am really not sure what is on the list,” Pishotta said. “When I got home I called them back and told them what happened, she said she would let the manager know so they would correct the mistake.”

Pishotta still contacted News 2 in case other parents who shopped earlier in the weekend were incorrectly charged.

“On the way home, I started thinking, ‘If I was taxed, how many other people bought stuff that they were taxed for?’” she said.

News 2 went to the Mt. Juliet location for comment and was referred to Target’s corporate communications department, who responded by email stating, “Items that are exempt from sales tax can vary by state, but exemptions sometimes include clothing, footwear, certain accessories, or certain school supplies. We encourage guests who have questions to work directly with the Target Guest Relations team to resolve any concerns. Guests can contact Guest Relations at 1-800-440-0680, or visit their local store if it is believed they were charged in error and we will work with them to correct it.”

News 2 also contacted the Tennessee Department of Revenue. The department oversees tax collection in the state and the sales tax holiday weekend.

So far the department has had two reports of retailers incorrectly charging sales tax, according to spokeswoman Kelly Nolan Cortesi.

She said both issues were resolved by talking to the taxpayer.

Cortesi said in a statement that people who think they have been wrongly charged should contact the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

“The Department of Revenue encourages that person to notify us by calling 1-800-342-1003 or emailing us at . If appropriate, the department is happy to talk to the retailer to explain the Sales Tax Holiday and what items are tax-exempt under the law,” she wrote. “The customer will need to return to the retailer where the item or items were purchased to get a refund on the sales tax.”

Pishotta said she is not asking for a refund. Her sales tax ended up being just a little more than $1.

She simply wants to raise awareness for parents and retailers to make sure they are not incorrectly charging customers.

“I only had one kid that day I was buying for, but a family of three or four kids, it could really rack up,” she said.

Click here to see a list of tax-exempt items.

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