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Sporting Good Customers Discover Device Tax on their Receipts

Qmed Staff

September 19, 2013

1 Min Read
Sporting Good Customers Discover Device Tax on their Receipts

The Nebraska-based outdoor gear store Cabela's applied the medical device excise tax to purchases ranging from boots to bullets at the beginning of the year. The 2.3% tax, which went into affect on January 1, applies to a variety of medical devices, excluding those sold at directly to consumers. While it does not apply to non-medical items, the website Snopes.com suggests that the mistake was a result of a problematic software upgrade.

tax_0.jpgCabela's spokesman Joe Arterburn chalked the charges up to a company-wide glitch related to its sales register system and explains that the company caught the problem on the same day it appeared. The company offered refunds to customers inadvertently affected by the tax.

The website factcheck.org reports that it is still getting emails from readers about the mix-up, some eight months after the mistake was corrected.
The glitch triggered a torrent of Internet speculation, with customers using the receipts to complain about hidden costs built into the Affordable Care Act. A chain email helped fuel the belief that products such as fishing gear would be taxed under Obamacare. Customers of the sporting goods store took to social media to post images of their receipts and decry the tax. Complicating matters is that sport fishing and archery equipment are subject to excise taxes that were enacted prior to the medical device excise tax. The tax glitch at Cabela's led some to speculate that the charge was a "hidden" provision of the Affordable Care Act.

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