LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Walmart taxed the delivered groceries of at least two people in New Mexico even though a tax deduction governing such home deliveries took effect on July 1.
Walmart told the Las Cruces Sun-News that it was working to remove the assessment of sales tax on delivered groceries after receiving clarification from the state about the new tax exemption. “We apologize for the confusion,” Walmart said in a statement.
As delivered groceries became more popular during the pandemic, New Mexicans noticed gross receipts tax charges on their delivered groceries, which would normally be tax-free in grocery stores.
Previously, only food sold at retail stores could be deducted from gross tax receipts. But earlier this year, New Mexico lawmakers amended the policy so that the deduction would apply to food sold by retail stores, thereby making delivered groceries deductible.
Tax and Revenue Department spokesman Charlie Moore said that although the agency will make a grocer aware of the change in the food tax deduction, the department “can’t control what deductions a taxpayer chooses to claim.”
The grocer can decide whether to take the deduction, according to Moore, though most grocers take the deduction and choose not to charge the tax.
“It is up to each taxpayer to interpret their eligibility for deductions,” Moore said. “The gross receipts tax is an obligation of the business.”