Curious About Getting Sales Tax Back

By Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV

I returned something to Home Depot without a sales receipt for a store credit and they said they couldn’t return the sales tax. Why is that?  The state is getting double sales tax.  – Marylee, Southbridge

I believe the reason is that without a receipt the store doesn’t know where you bought the item or when.  A person could potentially buy the item at a Home Depot in another state without sales tax and return it in a state that has sales tax and pocket the difference.  I’m certainly not suggesting Marylee is doing that, only that the store wants to protect itself.  The other reason is the “when.”  According to Mass. state law if you make a return more than 90 days after purchase, the store does not have to return your sales tax, even if you have a receipt.  That’s because after 90 days the state won’t give back the sales tax to the store, so if the store gives it to you, it’s out the money.  So yes, the state profits.  Since Marylee didn’t have her receipt the store doesn’t know when she bought the product.

On one hand, perhaps she should be happy that they accepted the return without a receipt.  The moral of the story…keep your receipts.

But it is lousy to lose that money.

Has this happened to you?


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  • overtaxed

    I had a similar issue. I bought a fake christmas tree at a NH Lowes. When i got it home the bottom lights did not work. I contacted the store as I knew they did not have any more of this tree. They said to go to Danvers and they would exchange it as it was defective. They said that I would have to pay tax on it. After a “discussion” with the manager They discounted the tree the amount of the sales tax and I was on my way. I was doing an exchange so I should not have had to pay the tax.

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