Walmart outside Bakersfield city limits charging customers city sales tax rate

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Customers of a Walmart outside of Bakersfield’s city limits are fed up, saying the store appears to be charging a higher-than-allowed tax rate.

The neighborhood Walmart market is in Oildale near the intersection of N. Chester Ave. and W. Day Ave., exactly 1.7 miles outside of the Bakersfield city limits.

Receipts from customers at the store on Thursday indicated the store is charging the city’s sales tax rate instead of the county’s lower sales tax rate.

Katy McAusland went shopping with her daughter. 

“I bought some groceries and then my daughter wanted a little rubber duck,” McAusland said.

While food items are not taxable, other items, like the little rubber duck McAusland purchased for her daughter, are taxable. 
 
“The tax on that was 8.25 percent,” she said while looking at her receipt. But it appears McAusland should not have been taxed at that rate.

After the City of Bakersfield’s Measure N passed last year, the city’s sales tax increased from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent; the tax increase applies only to the city of Bakersfield. The tax in county areas, including some parts of Oildale, remains at 7.25 percent.

The sales tax at the Walmart in question should be 7.25 percent, according to California’s Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

“It kind of irritates me because, even though it may be just a penny or two, those add up,” McAusland said.

Shopper Shannon Young shared a similar frustration. The Oildale man paid the 8.25 percent sales tax rate on paper towels.

“I feel like I’m being ripped off,” he said. “It will probably be the last time I come here.”   

McAusland said she hopes change comes soon.

“I hope there’s awareness about it and something is done about it. We elect our leaders and they should be able to do something about this because that’s not fair to the general public,” she said.

KGET reached out to Walmart for comment. A representative said the company is working on getting back to us.     

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