Senate passes sales tax transparency plan

TOPEKA — The Senate today passed legislation that would require retailers to print cumulative state and local sales tax rates on all receipts or to display the rates on easily readable signs near cash registers.

Senate Bill 1, which will now be considered by the House of Representatives, would let shoppers see not just the amount of tax they are paying on their purchases, but the percentage as well.

Businesses without cash registers would be required to post the rate in a highly visible area.

Sen. Dick Kelsey, R-Goddard, said he favored the posting of the tax rate because purchases are not always made at a traditional cash register.

“Like when you’re buying a car and they take you into that little room where you sign a stack of papers and then find out how much you’re paying in taxes,” Kelsey said.

The bill also targets retailers who collected taxes based on erroneous sales tax rates, examples of which were cited by Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, in a hearing of the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation.

Supporters also have said the disclosure would tip off consumers when they are making purchases in special districts where sales taxes are higher to pay for economic development projects.

By Todd Fertig