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Illinois Man Sues Over Sales Tax

  • Jul 30, 2013 | Gail Cole

 Illinois: Could 9 cents lead to $50,000?

How much sales tax is too much sales tax?

In the case of John McAffee, the answer seems to be 9 cents. That's how much sales tax Mr. McAffee claims the Quiktrip Corporation overcharged him on a purchase of Cheetos and water at a Quiktrip in St. Clair County, Illinois. In response, Mr. McAffee is suing Quiktrip


On April 28 of this year, Mr. McAffee purchased one bag of Cheetos and two bottles of water from a Quicktrip in St. Clair County, Illinois. He was charged $0.12 sales tax on the purchase of $2.79. The sales tax should have totaled 3 cents, according to Mr. McAffee.

According to the lawsuit, "Illinois is allowed to charge a 1 percent sales tax on all non-flavored, non-carbonated, non-soft drink bottled water. Under state law, it is also permitted to charge up to 1.25 percent sales tax on food items…."

Read the Illinois Retailers' Occupation Tax Act here.

Ask first, sue second

In the event a store overcharges sales tax, the first course of action should be to alert the store of the error and ask for a refund. Retailers collect sales tax on behalf of the state--it passes through them--and they are not allowed to collect more (or less) than is due.

Did Mr. McAffee ask Quiktrip for a refund? The St. Clair newspaper that reported the story doesn't say.

Let's all sue

Mr. McAffee "believes that at least 100 other people have also paid too much in taxes on food purchases from the store." He is asking the court to "certify the class and to award him and other class members damages of more than $50,000, plus attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just."

Don't get sued over sales tax.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.