UPDATED: Florida Subway Does NOT Overcharge On Sales Tax

Mario ate at a South Beach, Fla. Subway that charged him 9 percent even though the Miami-Dade county sales tax is 7 percent. Neither Mario nor the Subway cashier was aware of a 2 percent surcharge that boosted the tax to 9 percent.

He writes:

I went to a Subway store in South Beach Fl, specifically in Washington Ave and 5th street, and ordered only a $5 footlong sub for lunch.

When I was told the total was $5.45, I asked why I was being charged those 45 cents, and the attendant only replied it was because the sales taxes. Since I clearly know sales taxes in Miami-Dade county (where South Beach is located) are only 7%, which calculates to 35 cents over the sub’s price, I asked her why the overcharge, and she simply responded she didn’t know and that it was what the register calculated.

For the mathematically impaired:

$5.00 + 7% tax = $5.35

$5.00 + 9% tax = $5.45

I wonder if that extra 2% in sales taxes this Subway store charges is for the “privilege” of finding something cheap to eat while you hang out in South Beach.

UPDATE: Subway isn’t doing anything wrong here. The extra 2 percent comes from a tacked-on Food and Beverage Task.

(Photo: Morton Fox)


Edit Your Comment

  1. kcvaliant says:

    Probably just entered wrong in the system. Of course knowing the way corporates operated it might be intended. I believe they get to keep so much under a certain total before they have to send it back.

  2. Joewithay says:

    In DC the sale tax is 10% for eating out…stupid legal tax laws.

    • nybiker says:

      @Joewithay: I am still going to complain about our sales tax rate here in NYC, but I suspect you’ll scream louder since your rate is 10% and my is “only” 8.875%.
      And that rate applies to anything is taxable. So, while buying a pound of roast beef in the deli is not taxable (it’s food), ordering a roast beef hero (a/k/a hoagie & sub), you will pay the sales tax on the hero’s price since the govts tax the service and the place doesn’t break out the charge for the food itself and the service portion (i.e., putting the hero together). Granted, no deli / restaurant would ever break out the prices so we all know that the prices are exclusive of the sales tax (unless otherwise noted on the menu).

    • VeeKaChu says:

      @Joewithay: Glad to hear we’re not the only suckers paying in excess of +10% sales tax. Here in Chicago in the late 90’s Daley pushed through a restaurant sales tax increase intended for parks, etc, (beautification) and claimed it would be levied on an area of the city that was heavily trafficked by tourists.

      Naturally, it included the entire “downtown” area, where everyone who works in the city eats every goddamned day.

  3. Micromegas says:

    MY GOD

  4. coan_net says:

    Some places had a higher tax of take-out food, and since the receipt actually says Take-Out total, that might be why the higher tax rate.

    Another idea is maybe some sort of local tax.

    But of course the original poster seems to know what he is talking about, of course the cashier won’t know what is going on – probable best to go to the government agency in the area and start there.

  5. rellog321 says:

    I always wonder about companies charging sales tax online, even though they probably don’t pay the tax to my state of residence… Should be illegal and have massive fines for this stuff, since it is beneficial for the company to do this… some fraud type statute.

    • teknowaffle says:

      @rellog321: You would be amazed at the number of places and laws actually requiring this.

      My company had 1. ONE. UNO. EIN. Person in another state working for us, and we had to charge sales taxes to the poor people in that state.

      All it takes is a distribution center, an order fulfillment company, someone farting from your company in that state for the government to get their greasy hands on it.

      Every year this state where there was one person working got over 35k a year in sales tax. Frikin joke.

    • ben says:

      @rellog321: If they collect sales tax and don’t pay it to the state, then yes, that’s illegal.

      Several states now require you to report on your income tax form the value of any online purchases you’ve made for which you were not charged sales tax.

  6. jmhart says:

    Three words: Small Claims Court, get your $100 and call it a day.

    SOOOO many places overcharge sales tax. I used to work at one. They charged 10%….sales tax was only 6%. They did it for the extra money.

  7. MartaMyrrha says:

    Wouldn’t that be mucho illegal? Since the company would be pocketing the extra but “pretending” it was state tax – as in goes to the state? Regardless, isn’t this stealing in essence?

  8. pb5000 says:

    I live in Ohio where they like to over complicate the sales tax issue. I’m on a county line and retail sales tax is 6.5% in my county, 6.75% next door, drive south about 30 minutes and it’s 5.75% in that county. Then they passed a bus levy, so depending on what you buy, it’s now 7% in one county but still 6.5% in mine. I’ve given up trying to figure it out and just shop online.

    The only plus is the no tax on food thing, a $5 footlong is indeed only $5.

  9. chiieddy says:

    Is there a meals tax in South Beach? Massachusetts just allowed towns to pass a small meals tax on top of the 6.25% sales tax. For example, in Saugus, MA it’s an additional .75%, so I’d pay 7% tax on restaurants there. It’s not separated out as a different line item on the bill.

    I found this article but it’s dated and I can’t figure out if it still applies.

  10. Corncob says:

    Sometimes new developments have extra sales tax to compensate the developer. For example, there is a best buy near here that charges and extra 1% sales tax that is supposed to compensate the developer for the infrastructure they installed in the area.

  11. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    “. Tourist Development Surtax (TDS) on Sales of Food and Beverages in Hotels/Motels

    A two percent (2%) Food and Beverage Tax is collected on the sale of all food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) by restaurants, coffee shops, snack bars, wet bars, night clubs, banquet halls, catering or room services, and any other food and beverage facilities in or on the property of a hotel or motel.

    The TDS is collected throughout Miami-Dade County with the exceptions of facilities in the cities of Surfside, Bal Harbour or Miami Beach. TDS receipts are distributed to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.”

    source: [www.miamidade.gov]

  12. morganlh85 says:

    There may be additional taxes above sales tax…junk food tax? Entertainment tax? Some cities add that in as well nowadays. If not, they have a helluva lawsuit coming their way.

  13. carblover says:

    I’m a Miami local. There is an additional Miami-Beach tax. Honestly, I don’t know the details, but it usually shows up as a seperate line under the 7% normal tax.

  14. Megleris says:


    I don’t know about that. It entirely depends on how their accountants do the sales tax. I know of several accounting offices in town that treat all bank deposits as income, unless specified otherwise. If they were charging 2 percent more, it’d get picked up as income that way.

  15. gggtur says:

    There are a number of additional taxes for certain businesses in Florida. When we owned a motel, there was an additional 5% county tax that funded tourism based initiative. I would assume this is probably what happened.

  16. Blueskylaw says:

    Or you could check out this place just a little further down the street.

    Sum Yum Gai
    1403 Washington Ave
    Miami Beach, FL 33139

    (Insert jokes here)

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @Blueskylaw: Well, it IS South Beach.

      My issue with this whole post is that someone actually ate at that Subway. I’ve been to the very one and I’ve literally never seen a dirtier one in my entire life. Maybe I’m just not well traveled enough?

  17. xnihilx says:

    Subway tastes and smells like gym socks. :;barf::

  18. spazztastic says:

    There is a deli near my office that I frequent. If I buy a soda, they charge me $1.50, including tax and deposit. If I buy a bag of chips (not a taxable item in NYC), they charge me the price on the bag ($.25-$.99). But if I purchase both of those items with a sandwich (taxable), I am charged sales tax on the total purchase. I’ve mentioned it to the owner several times, he still hasn’t retrained his personnel. So now I just make two purchases when I buy my lunch. First the soda and chips, and then the sandwich.

  19. theblackdog says:

    That is the grossest looking Subway sandwich. Did the customer ask for extra-extra-extra mayo?

  20. ElizabethD says:

    Photos like that should come with a warning and be hidden behind a cut. *blarrghhhh*

  21. econobiker says:

    Does anyone feel it is okay not to tip on a 9.375% sales tax added to a restuarant bill? Tip on the order but not the tax?

  22. hansn says:

    In Tempe, AZ, there’s a local sales tax and a state sales tax (and a state income tax). The local sales tax applies to ordinary groceries (unless purchased with food stamps), while the state does not apply to any groceries.

  23. Reading Rainbow says:

    I find it interesting if nothing else that the receipt manages to not say what the tax rate is, just the total. I guess I don’t look at my receipts close enough – is that normal?

  24. StanTheManDean says:

    Local goofy sheit taxes. Gotta hate them.

    PS: over collecting sales tax is NOT a criminal offense in any state as long as the excess sales tax is donated to the state coffers.

  25. eigenvector says:

    In WV, the sales tax is 6%, except for foods that meet certain guidelines; the tax for those foods is 4%. Just about all receipts I’ve scrutinized make an indication of which tax is applied to each item.

    My local Kroger stores mark bottled soft drinks as 4%, but the numbers only add up to the total if you treat it as 6%. From my understanding of the food tax guidelines, it should be 4.

  26. allstarecho says:

    Here in Mississippi, there are special zones that can have a higher tax.. I forget what it’s called. Something like “hotel and resort status”. In the city I live in, everywhere is the normal 7% state tax except the zone around our minor league professional baseball stadium (Mississippi Braves, Atlanta Braves owned) where taxes are 9%.

  27. Cant_stop_the_rock says:


    The wording of that is ambiguous; it’s not clear if “in or on the property of a hotel or motel” refers only to the phrase “any other food and beverage facilities” or to the whole list. If to the whole list, then it sounds like the Subway may be mistakenly collecting the tax (unless it’s at a hotel).

    Either way they’re not pocketing the money. Excess tax collected gets sent to the state just like all of the other tax money.

  28. chiieddy says:

    @GrandizerGo: It was opt-in on a town-by-town basis. Many towns didn’t take advantage of it. Saugus was smart to with the Rt 1 strip.

  29. cameronl says:

    Yeah, I figured it was something like that. Why didn’t The Consumerist check this before posting? Or at least question the tax. If you’re going to be lazy enough to post the story without doing any homework, at least give it the headline “DID Subway Overcharge on Sales Tax?”.
    But no, they print it as a fact that they did. One of the most frustrating things about Consumerist is how quickly the take the word of the submitter and post without any effort to check. The fact that they are now owned by CU would make me think they should be trying harder.

  30. zentex says:

    @cameronl: you might as well of said “wh s ths n cnsmrst?”

    BUT, to answer your question; how many bloggers act like reporters and check facts?. Wait, how many reporters check facts?

    Sensational headlines and FUD sells more copies…err gets more hits.

    The nosey old lady next door does more fact checking than Consumerist, as soon as well all lower our expectations, the site becomes more enjoyable. It’s like a treasure hunt, they post half-truths, and misleading sentences then it’s up to us to research the truth and post it to get our “attaboy!” reward… but only a few see it because it gets buried by non-fact-checkers lynching away. :-)

    @larrymac – please put me on your do not call list: Good job on finding the truth, its always out there, you just gotta eyeball for it. “attaboy!”

  31. billy says:

    @zentex: Yet, still no retraction from Consumerist.

  32. billy says:

    @dragonfire81: Some (any) acknowledgment of error would be helpful, especially for those people who don’t read past the headline. It’s not the first time Phil Villareal let a little thing like facts get in the way of truthful reporting (see his ludicrous story about MLB’s copyright notice and his article about Xbox Live and some utter incompetency at trying to buy some games with credits that had nothing to do with Xbox being bad).

    It really undermines Consumerist’s credibility.

  33. [DFX] Deimos says:

    @Cant_stop_the_rock: You do, by definition, *charge* sales tax.

  34. dpeters11 says:

    @Covertghost: That looks totally disgusting…and I love mayo.

  35. trujunglist says:


    The cost of filing, taking your time to do it, etc…

  36. Coelacanth says:

    @billy: This is one reason why I have a hard time acknowledging “bloggers” as journalists. While people may joke at reporters’ questionable fact-finding, aren’t they held to laws and standards which require them to conduct due-diligence?

    It’s the one reason I hope that legitimate newspapers never die. Sure, perhaps institutions like The New York Times might migrate to an online-only format in the future, but I’d never call them “bloggers.”

  37. plustax says:

    @[DFX] Deimos: Actually the state or local government(s) charge you sales tax based on the purchase price of the item or service, the vendor has the obligation to collect that sales tax and remit it to the proper taxing authority mostly in exchange for the privilege of doing business within their jurisdictions. Some state and local governments actually give you a piece of that action in the form of filing discounts.

    Also, I’m assuming it’s a glitch on the part of the Subway store as to why they are collecting 9% but also I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a rouge franchisee who is bilking their customers ever so slightly. I probably wouldn’t notice the difference and I’m an expert on state and local tax.

  38. secret_curse says:

    @trujunglist: You have to pay the cost of filing, so if you win the case and the defendant has to pay that back, you haven’t won anything. I don’t know how it works in Florida, but in my home state you can’t claim time you spend on the lawsuit as damages. I’m totally failing to see where you’ll end up $100 ahead with small claims court over a dime.

  39. zentex says:

    @billy: hell, now its not even a visible story any more