I'm engaged! What's the tax on that?

Zoe Greszler • Jul 26, 2019 at 7:00 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: Two editors and three reporters at the Norwalk Reflector saved all of their receipts last week and totaled the sales taxes. This is the fourth part in a five-part series reviewing how much taxes they were charged.

In my managing editor Joe Centers’ column about his taxes, he mentioned the marital status of each of us also writing columns on the subject. I’m unmarried — but only for a few more weeks.

I’m planning to marry one of the absolutely best, kindest, most loving and down-to-earth men I’ve ever known, my best friend Benjamin Kubasek. That being said, with an I-do date just around the corner, my biggest purchase this last week was definitely in making the final decision on my wedding attire. Yes, I bought my wedding dress!

The dress, though, was a purchase I was both excited for and (honestly) dreaded a little. Besides the stress of finding something that would fit both what I wanted and (hopefully) please the majority of people close to me, the figures on some wedding dresses are outrageous. They may as well require you to sign a promise of giving up your first born once your new family gets around to having children. 

When I walked into the bridal shop after doing much online perusing I had no shame in telling them I knew my budget and that I’d probably being staying on the far right wall — the clearance and discount section. Ben and I are proud of the fact that we’re trying to have a simple wedding that focuses, not on starting our wedding with a huge debt, but on what’s really happening — uniting a man, woman and God, laying only the first stepping stone in a marriage that will hopefully last forever.

When I went back to David’s Bridal in Mansfield last Wednesday with the intention of making the final decision between my three favorites, I was pleasantly surprised to see a “40 percent off entire store” sign. Sadly the sale came because the location is going out of business. That all being said, it’s with a measure of excitement and pride that I say I got my wedding dress, additional gemmed straps that will need added on and the garment bag all for just over $275. And for a dress which alone was originally $799, that’s pretty great if you ask me.

Yet, despite my savings, taxes still came out to $19.36.

Another $39.99 in purchases last week went to a maid-of-honor gift, courtesy of Amazon. The tax on that comes out to about $2.80. I’m still waiting for that to arrive on my door step.

After the dress, my next largest purchase was an unexpected and unwelcome one — a new tire. Since my car is brand new, the mechanic at my Mansfield Walmart said I “definitely needed” them to give me the best-grade tire they had. Right. I’m sure his wallet needed it too. Tax on a $57 tire, plus fees, equals $5.01. By the way, Ben saved me about $15 (plus tax) by installing it himself. 

It was a good purchase though since a couple days later we went to Cleveland’s Wolstein Center for a special three-day Bible-based convention all about love. I attended with Ben and a couple friends and since I get the best mileage by far — 45 miles to the gallon — Ben drove the four of us in my car all three days back and forth. Between that and driving to and from work here and home in Mansfield several times a week, we filled my car three times.

Filling a 10-gallon tank thrice comes to the tune of about $76.50. Courtesy of the fuel tax hike, about $17.07 of that was in taxes. Thank you to Huron County Auditor Roland Tkach for figuring those numbers up for me. I gained a better understanding of the gas tax from Tkach when talking to him. Regardless of the price on gas, the tax amount stays the same. You’re charged tax per gallon, not the total price. For all Ohioians, that means nearly 57 cents of each gallon is actually taxes.

So when I filled up for $2.45 per gallon, I was actually paying about $1.88 per gallon of fuel. Not bad. And hopefully soon we’ll see what those taxes are supplying: better roads. (By the way, gas in Mansfield in consistently 15 to 20 cents cheaper than in Norwalk, in case you were wondering.)

Thankfully, with the exception now of wedding shopping, perhaps, most of what I buy is groceries, which, again, thankfully goes untaxed. However, I still managed to spend more than I expected in general, let alone in taxes. 

At Kroger, taxes amounted to 19 cents. Outside of my new tire splurge, I spent 14 cents in taxes at Walmart and another $1.59 over a couple visits to Meijer. Applebee’s took 20 cents in tax, while Taco Bell took 7. And since date night is still very necessary and the new Spider-Man movie was calling our name, about 89 cents went to taxes on one large popcorn and one large drink at the movie theater — the one place they charge an exorbitant amount of tax on food. 

Overall, my tax bill came to $47.32. That’s quite a bit more than I expected. Still, it could have been worse. Imagine if I would have paid full price for my wedding dress! Taxes on $799 is $55.93. At least I won’t have to calculate taxes on the venue and ring prices. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

For the fifth and final part of this series, Stacey Hartley will recap her week’s worth of spending in Saturday’s issue.

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