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Walmart offering $5 gift cards to those affected by sales tax glitch

Walmart on Tuesday said it is offering $5 gift cards to shoppers who were inadvertently charged Alabama’s sales tax twice last week.

The state’s sales tax on most groceries dropped from 4% to 3% on Friday, but Walmart and Sam’s Club shoppers in Alabama were accidentally charged both rates that day, the retail giant said. The issue was fixed by Friday night, Walmart said.

On Tuesday, Walmart is offering gift cards to customers who can show the error on their Friday receipts. Gift cards are available through Sept. 18.

Sam’s Club members impacted by the overcharged sales tax will receive $5 in Sam’s Cash, automatically applied to their account.

Separately, Walmart on Friday said customers who paid cash could get a refund if their receipts showed the two separate sales tax amounts. Customers who used credit cards would get an automatic refund.

Alabama was one of three states that taxed food at the same rate as other items for purchase. The 4-cent state sales tax on food cost a family of four about $600 a year, according to the advocacy group Alabama Arise.

The legislation does not apply to local sales taxes on food, which in some parts of the state is as high as 10%, but does prevent future local tax increases from applying to grocery items. 

The tax-cut legislation approved by lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this year allows for another 1 percentage point decrease in fall 2024 if revenue growth in the Education Trust Fund, to which sales tax money flows, is expected to be 3.5% or more in 2025.


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