Ask the Expert: Splitting Sales Tax in your Spending Analysis

P Wrote: I am in the process of creating my Spending Analysis Worksheet and I have hit a road block. I have some transactions from a pharmacy that  I am able to break apart into the appropriate categories, but I don’t know what to do with the tax. For example, I have a receipt from Shoppers Drug Mart for $36.49. I purchased gum ($2.99), an iTunes gift card ($25), and two birthday cards, ($3.69, and $3.49 respectively), for a total of $35.17 (add $1.32 in tax) and my total was $36.49. Now, I don’t want to list this transaction under the category “Shoppers Drug Mart”, I want to put gum under “Groceries” and the iTunes gift card and 2 birthday cards under the “Gifts” category. But what do I do with the tax? Do I just add $2.99 for my gum under groceries, and $32.18 under the Gifts for the gift card and birthday cards, without including the tax that I paid for it? What do I do? How should I proceed?

 “On my Spending Analysis, how should I split the sales tax on multi-category receipts?”

Gail Vaz-Oxlade

You would have to assign the tax proportionately on your spending analysis spreadsheet, m’love. If you’re paying 13% tax, take the total you assigned to Shoppers, multiply it by 13% and add it to the $36.49. Add up all the tax you “calculate” and make sure it matches the tax you actually paid. If there’s a difference, assign the “difference” to your largest tax cost. (Remember, you don’t always pay tax on everything at the same rate).