Beaufort News

Some businesses might be charging expired sales tax

Some Beaufort County businesses might still be charging customers a sales tax that expired earlier this week.

The county chief financial officer, David Starkey, said a few residents have called to complain about businesses continuing to tack on the 1 percent transportation sales tax that expired at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

In fact, Starkey noticed he was charged the tax this week at a Beaufort grocery store, but there wasn't anything he could do about it.

"All we can do is let the (S.C. Department of Revenue) know we're done (with the tax)," Starkey said. "It's not like we can send the police out to the vendor."

Customers erroneously charged can return to the business with their receipts to get their money back, according to Department of Revenue spokeswoman Samantha Cheek.

Cheek said shoppers should also call the department's Charleston office at 843-852-3600, and a revenue officer would contact the business to ensure sales taxes are being properly collected.

The 1 percent tax, approved by voters in 2006, financed local road construction and improvements. It was set to expire in March 2013, or when it raised $152 million. The revenue goal was met during the past few months, so the local sales tax dropped to 6 percent Monday.

Starkey said the county has asked the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce to remind members they should no longer charge the tax. The county did the same before the tax expired.

Attempts Wednesday to reach chamber representatives for comment were unsuccessful.

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  2. Officials laud road projects as county transportation sales tax set to expire Sept. 30; Aug. 18, 2012