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Walgreens charged customers sales tax on COVID-19 tests illegally: Now says they can’t issue refunds

Should at-home COVID-19 tests be taxable?

Technically, the short answer is ‘no’. But some shoppers have found that at certain stores, like Walgreens, sales tax has been applied to past transactions.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance say that COVID test kits sold in stores are not subject to sales tax.


So, why are some shoppers, like those that reached out to News10NBC about recent purchases at Walgreens, seeing ‘sales tax’ appear on their receipt?

A corporate rep told News10NBC that it came down to New York State not providing enough information. “With the urgency to get these new COVID at-home tests available in stores and being a new product with no taxability guidance issued from New York State, retailers were left to figure out taxability,” the rep said.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Once the rules were clarified the store’s point of sale system was adjusted. The state verified that certain Walgreen stores in question were in fact charging sales tax unnecessarily on at-home COVID tests.

But what about a refund?

Walgreens says that’s between the customer and New York State. “Sales taxes are levied by state and/or local jurisdictions. Retailers are required to collect sales taxes from customers at the point of sale, on behalf of the jurisdiction, and remit the collected taxes to the state and/or local jurisdiction,” the company said. “Sales tax collected are not kept by the Company.”



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