New Soda Tax Brings Confusion, Mistakes

(CBS) – The rollout of Cook County’s new soda tax is anything but sparkling.

Less than 24 hours after the tax went into effect, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov found some stores slapping customers with the surcharge when they shouldn’t be.

The penny-an-ounce sugar tax is leaving some with a bitter aftertaste.

Day One, and many say two words come to mind: “confusion” and “frustration.”

Near North Side 7-Eleven owner Aruna Sathia says the tax’s implementation has gone smoothly here.

But that’s not the case everywhere. Only drinks sweetened artificially or with sugar are subject to the new tax. Sparkling, non-sweetened water is supposed to be exempt.

But Kozlov selected a La Croix 12-pack at a Streeterville Walgreens and it was rung up with a sweetened beverage tax charge of $1.40. When questioned, employees said they couldn’t remove it.

At a Division Street mom-and-pop shop, Ice Mountain sparkling water was also erroneously taxed 17 cents, according to the receipt.

Cook County officials say by statute, the government collects from the retailer, not the customer.  So, buyer be aware.

If they buy at all.

Even free refills are subject to the new tax, with county officials saying it’s up to retailers if they want to charge it.

CBS 2 found one restaurant Wednesday that did.

A county spokesperson reminds merchants they’ve had since last November to plan for this.

More from Dana Kozlov

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