December 3, 2008
Action Line: A taxing beverage deposit question
Q I love your response to questions. You are one of the reasons I get the paper. You are the man who tells it like it is, like it or not. (Gosh.) My Question: When I purchase soda pop or bottled water, I get charged for a deposit on the bottle. That's OK.
Should I get charged sales tax on that deposit charge?
When I return the empties, I lose the sales tax that I paid.
Is this right to charge sales tax on the deposit, then we get less than what we paid when we return the empties?
A You're right, M.F.S. It's a legal bum deal. You don't get back the sales tax on the deposit.
But you should get back your deposit of five cents for each beverage container less than 24 ounces or 10 cents for each container 24 ounces or greater.
Meanwhile, consider drinking tap water. (But don't stare too hard at your water bill. It's a doozy when you consider the cost per glass. But you don't have to pay sales taxes on it.)
If you want more information on all this, check out the state Department of Conservation Web site at www.conservation.ca.gov or call 1-800-RECYCLE (732-9253)