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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Readers Questions Answered: How to calculate Taxes and ECB adjustment totals at CVS!

I have had many readers write in asking how to calculate tax at CVS when you use Extra Care Bucks and coupons. 99% of the time I know exactly what I am going to spend when I go into CVS and this is how...

I will try to explain it the best that I can.

If you buy a product at $2.99 and have a coupon for $2.50 you will pay $.49 plus tax. In this example the tax is calculated on the sub-total of $2.99 (for GA @ 7% that's .20). Your total will be $.69.

If you buy that same product for $2.99 BUT you have a free product coupon or one for $2.99 of of the price, the sub-total will be zero resulting in NO tax.

The same goes for ECB's (but it is a tad bit more complicated).

If you buy a product at $2.99 and use a $2.99 ECB your total will not have to pay tax (because your sub-total is $0.00)

If you buy that same product ($2.99) and use a $2.50 (or any other ECB under $2.99) you will have to pay the difference plus tax. In our example of the $2.99 product the difference would be .49 plus tax on the sub-total which is (again in GA's 7% realm) .20 for a total of $.69.

If you buy that same product ($2.99) and use a $3 ECB adjusted down to $2.99 YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY TAX. I know that this totally doesn't make sense based on what I just explained to you but it is the way their cash registers are set up (no exceptions to this rule). (In GA @ 7%) you will pay $.20 for this item.

Tip: You should never adjust an ECB down for something less than a $1 with an ECB valued higher than $1. At this point you will be paying the same amount of tax on the item BUT you are loosing that $1 + in ECB's! For example: If you buy that same item for $2.99 and try to adjust a $4 ECB on it you will still be paying .20 (Ga tax) out-of-pocket and you will loose the $1.01 in ECB's. It is better just to use the $3 ECB! You will pay $.20 but you get to keep your $1.01 in ECB's.***

As rule of thumb I only adjust my Extra Care Bucks down if the change on a transaction is .90 or higher. If it's not I pay the $.01 - $.89 plus tax. Technically you can do the math on your transactions but it is just easier for me this way! I get so many things free from CVS that an extra few pennies isn't worth the hassle!

I hope that I didn't just make things worse and confuse you even more! CVS is a very "particular" system. Attention to detail (such as this about adjusting coupons, etc) will help you out! Understanding this process will help you determine whether or not to adjust your ECB's.

Be sure to let me know if this clears things up a bit for you or if you just fell out of your computer chair!


Alisa said...

It makes more sense now that I see it in print. However, this must be something new. I never paid tax on adjusted down ECBs before. I did start noticing in the last couple of weeks that my ECBs started appearing as CVS MFR COUPON instead of CVS COUPON. Thanks for the explanation!

nicole-ohio said...

I on the other hand just fell out of my computer chair. Im going to have to read that again.

Lissa said...


This is odd, I have always had to pay tax if I had a sub-total. I will call corporate to see if this is something specific to my area or not. It shoudn't be. I too have noticed that the coupons say MFG but I have been paying tax long before that.

I have backed out of transactions or added a filler to prevent from loosing money on ECb's due to this. Yet another way for CVS to confuse you! lol

When you get up and read it again let me know if there are any more questions that may help you out!


Lissa said...


Update, I went into CVS tonight and tried an experiment with adjusting down a coupon (my total was $11.66 and I used a $10 ECB and a $2 ecb adjusted down to $1.66. I still had to pay .99 cents in tax on this transaction. I talked to corporate earlier today and they informed me that what I wrote was correct. You will pay taxes on an ECB that is adjust down to your total.

I hope this helps. They said that it was national not just for GA.

Thanks for letting us know...Watch out for taxes the next time you go in. If you don't have to pay them let me know what state you are in and I will make a note of it!

Talk to you soon!

Anonymous said...

I bought 2 of each of the "free after ECB" items this morning. The subtotals were 1.98. I used 1.98 ECB from the "free after ECB" items from last week and still had to pay tax. I was confused becasue last week I didn't have to do that and according to your explanation, I shouldn't have had to either. Any ideas why? I'm in KY by the way with 6% tax. So, I had to pay .24.

Lissa said...

I wonder if they are changing the way the computer does the transactions. I did it last week also and didn't have to pay taxes either.

The shopping trip from last night was an adjusted ECB so I had to pay tax. I had another reader state they the CVS coupons now say MFR coupon on her receipts (not sure of her location) and this may be why. All along I have not had to pay taxes on most of my transactions but CVS does still have to pay taxes for their sales. I am thinking that this is something that they are trying to change over so that they aren't paying our taxes too!

I will try to call corporate again to see if there is a change in effect and post it in these comments when I find out the details.

When I purchased the Bic Pens and the Neutrogena items that were free after the coupons I didn't have to pay tax on those.

2 thumbs up to CVS for keeping us guessing! lol

Let me know if you find anything out either!

Thanks for writing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I don't mind paying the taxes (although I won't if I don't have to ;) ) but I would just like to know for planning sake...

Lisa said...

I went to CVS last Sunday to get some of their great deals. My total was -.02 before tax. The cashier mentioned she thought it was odd that I ended up paying sales tax because she usually adjusts it to 0. I think it is something they are changing, even the cashier noticed the change.

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