Saturday, January 30, 2010

Food Stamp Fundamentals Part 1

As promised here we go

1. Yes you can use coupons with a food stamp card.

2. Yes you must pay tax on the face value of the coupon when you use coupons with your food stamp card. ( example coupon for 50 cents double to $1.00 you only pay tax on the 50 cents and only once per item that you use a coupon with .)

3. Always separate the items that you have coupons for from the ones you don't.
( example if you have a 50 cent coupon for bread and you are also buying milk and have no coupon for the milk do a separate transaction ) Trust Me !!!! It's worth the extra time. This is where the biggest errors come in.

4. Also separate all other items from your grocery items that you are using coupons for.
(example bread you have a coupon for do 1 transaction, milk you don't have a coupon for do another transaction and toilet paper you do or don't have a coupon for do a third transaction) It is the only way to catch the tax errors unless you want to spend an hour at customer service

5. Some stores require you to pay tax out of pocket and not charge the tax back to the balance of your food stamp card. In Oklahoma City so far Wal-Mart, Target, and Homeland are the only three grocery stores I know of that don't make you pay cash out of pocket for the cash for the tax portion on the face value of the coupon. Buy For Less and Eley's both do (example... at Wal-Mart bread is 1.00 You have a coupon for 50 cents off so bread purchase price is 50 cents plus .05 cents tax on the coupon and .55 cents tax would be deducted from your food stamp balance. At Buy for Less bread is 1.00 I have a coupon for .50 cents off the purchase price so with the .05 cents tax on the coupon .50 cents would be deducted from your food stamp card and you should pay .05 cents tax in cash.) Be very careful here not to be charged .09 cents tax on the 1.00 purchase price both Wal-Mart and Buy for Less are bad about this and this is where most of the errors come from. Always look over your receipts and if they are wrong immediately get a main manager not a front-end manager because if this is happening to you it is happening to everyone and you want the problem fixed and for good. Why you ask? Because the government would be taxing itself if you payed the full amount of tax on the product. One benefit of food stamps is you are not paying tax.

6. If you can't afford the out-of-pocket for the tax then shop elsewhere, even if you are paying a higher price.

7. Clarify with the managers in your local stores what the food stamp policy is and if you have to come up with the cash out of pocket for tax or not. It never hurts to suggest that the store checks into this for you.

8. Don't be ashamed to use coupons and do multiple transaction. You are a customer like everyone else and you have right. Remember, a store has guaranteed cash when they accept food stamp benefits from you. ( people's checks can bounce, credit cards can decline, and cash can be counterfeit your food stamp card is a sure thing)

9. As a food stamper you have a right to a catalina coupon too. Example you spent $50.00 at the register and get a $5.00 coupon off your next purchase than you can use it on items like toilet paper and soap. I would reserve it for non food-stampable purchases or tax at the stores that require you to come up with it out-of-pocket.

10. If you have any problems contact your local and state DHS department, corporate office of the store you are shopping at, and my personal favorite your state tax commission ( nobody wants a visit from the tax commission ever)

************ Disclaimer I am no expert in fact I am fairly new to couponing but I do know how to do my homework. Remember, Laws vary from state to state so don't be ashamed to contact both your local and state DHS offices


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