Send Ben: Durbin Park Burlington customers can receive credit after sales tax snafu

Jacksonville, Fla. — Action News Jax Ben Becker is helping customers get a credit for a sales tax snafu at a local Burlington, one they may not even know about.

Almedina Halilovic just needed a few things at the Durbin Park Burlington including a handbag, perfume, a few shirts, and a bathing suit for her daughter, but Halilovic was in for some sticker shock.


Her receipt sub-total read $127.54, including $14.10 in sales tax - that works out to 11% which is nearly double the sales tax in St. Johns County of 6.5%.

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This is not to be confused with the PIF or public improvement fee at Durbin Park which is a 0.5% infrastructure fee on all purchases at the development, which Action News Jax first reported in 2018. Again, this is different.

“Most people walk out of this store put their receipt in their pocket or trash and don’t look at it again,” says Halilovic. “When I called the store manager first it made me think she thought I didn’t know what I was talking about, and it was really aggravating.”

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Eventually, Burlington admitted Halilovic was overcharged $8.62 and sent her a $25 e-gift card for her troubles, but it raises questions about what led to the problem.

In an Action News Jax investigation, Becker found out the culprit could ironically be sales tax holidays when shoppers are not supposed to be charged any sales tax on certain items.

Becker found out from the Florida Department of Revenue that sales tax overcharges can happen when “…a business that has not updated its point-of-sale system following a change in the local tax rate or during a statewide sales tax exemption period.”

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That means a business that doesn’t update the correct sales tax after the tax-free holiday.

In Halilovic’s case, she made her purchases on Feb. 9, and it just so happens that Florida had a back-to-school sales tax holiday from Jan. 1-Jan. 14, leaving it unclear how long the issue persisted.

Burlington did not clarify the exact date when the problem began, only when it found out. Following Becker’s questions, Burlington is offering a $5 gift card for customers who have been impacted Feb. 8 – Feb. 13.

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Burlington statement:

“Customers that shopped this particular store location between 2/8-2/13 are eligible to receive a $5 Burlington Gift Card. We inadvertently charged customers an incorrect tax rate and our systems rectified as soon as we learned of the error. These collected funds were provided to the appropriate tax authority. Customers can contact our customer experience team for further support if needed.. I can also confirm the collected funds were provided to the appropriate tax authority.”

“Until someone raises an issue, I don’t think the state is auditing and says you overpaid us take the money back,” says Zach Roth who is a government law attorney. “I would be surprised to find out it was just one business it happened to.”

It’s hard to tell because the Department of Revenue doesn’t keep specific numbers on consumer overpayment complaints or the amount of money, but what Becker did find out you can fill out a little-known form called a DR-55.

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The state has received 406 applications for compensation since 2019 to get reimbursed for paying too much sales tax - both customers and businesses can apply.

The next sales tax holiday is called Freedom Month, which begins July 1.

Experts say to make sure you check your receipts for the correct sales tax once any sales tax holiday ends.

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