California buyers - question about sales tax

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by coldjeanzzz, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. coldjeanzzz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    #1
    I'm a bit annoyed and confused at the moment

    I was trying to see how much the HTC One or iphone 5 would cost by upgrading (keeping the same plan) and with taxes added on

    From Best buy a $99 HTC One comes out to over $150 after taxes :eek:

    Ordinarily an 8% sales tax would net this thing at around $108, but because they are taxing on the FULL price of the phone before discounts (so around $700) you end up adding on 50% of the value of the discounted price.

    Is this normal? Is there no way to avoid this? When I bought a smart phone 3 years ago I don't recall if this same thing happened as I wasn't there at the time. My brother just bought his HTC One in New York for $108. We're all on the same family plan and we aren't changing anything about our plan we just want to change the phones. Ugh...I almost would rather never use a cell phone again just out of principle to rebel against this level of idiocy.
     
  2. kramjam macrumors 6502

    kramjam

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #2
    Most retailers in CA have to charge the sales tax on the full value of the phone, not on the subsidized pricing. However, there are a few stores that still may not charge the full sales tax. Walmart and Costco, I believe. You can try to call them and see what they say over the phone.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    Why do you think some stores can avoid collecting the sales tax that the state requires?

    Here in Massachusetts we get charged for the entire unsubsidized price regardless of where you buy it.
     
  4. kramjam macrumors 6502

    kramjam

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Not exactly sure, but when I worked for Best Buy Mobile I would have a handful of customers freaking out at the register when they realized the tax was so high. I explained to them about the tax on the full price of the device and a good amount of the customers informed me that Costco, Sams, and Walmart didn't charge full sales tax. A few told me that Costco couldn't charge the full amount due to their membership fee, but never really found out a definitive answer.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    Iv'e seen people complain about this when I was buying my phone and saw a number of threads here as well, but the bottom line the state was collecting taxes on the full price. It seems odd that Costco could skirt the law and get away with it. I'd assume they would be on the hook for the difference.

    No matter, if the OP can lower his bill by going there it can't hurt to check out
     
  6. coldjeanzzz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    #6
    The issue is that Costco and Walmart seem to charge substantially more (around $150 for the One) so even if they didn't tax on the full price, it's still going to come out more than if I got it at Best Buy.

    Right now it looks like Amazon Wireless is selling it for 79.99, but I imagine they will also charge the full tax and it will come out around $130...:( So fricken unfair, it might even be cheaper just to have one bought in NY and have it shipped here by my brother
     
  7. rstevens macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2016
    #7
  8. silentbob007 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2010
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #8
    It depends on the retailer. Huge ones have to keep track of taxes across state lines. Smaller ones may not have to/be able to. With that being said, I'm sure California tax law would have you on the hook to declare your untaxed purchase on your next state income tax form (generally called a use tax) ... your decision whether to do that or not.
     
  9. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #9
    They've probably realized that people don't like the shock of tax raising the price that much so they build most of all of it into the list price. There is no law saying tax has to be added on at the end it's just marketing because stores want the lowest advertised price. They still send the full tax along to the state.

    I've bought phones in a couple of states and the tax is always on the full amount so I think that is a pretty standard thing.
     

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