Business BasicsInventory & Selling

Mary Kay and Your Dog: Recovering Sales Tax

Written by MommyMindi

Problems recovering your sales tax from Mary Kay? Your dog may soon become your newest “customer.”

If there is one thing that I learned during my stint with Mary Kay, it’s this: your dog will be one of your best customers. (Okay – for some reason, certain people actually LIKE cats. If you have a cat – s/he can be a customer as well.)

Never mind the fact that your dog lacks the required thumbs, opposable or not, to apply skin care and color. Never mind the fact that pets rarely have their own income to pay for the products. Never mind the fact that dogs would rather eat the lipstick (tube and all) than wear it.

According to Mary Kay Corporate, a dog is a valid customer. (yeahyeahyeah – cats too)

How do I know this??? They told me!

See, I was one of those Consultants who actually tried to run her “business” like a BUSINESS. I had a separate bank account opened specifically for my “business.” I had a separate credit card for orders. My initial inventory ($600) was paid for out of my personal savings and I didn’t pay myself a dime out of my sales until my business account had paid my personal savings account back. When I needed product, I wrote up a sales slip as if I were any other customer and wrote a check from my personal account for the amount due and deposited it in to my business account. I ordered what I needed, when I needed. It helped that my Director was a NSD and had already “made it”, so I can honestly say that I never got an email or phone call begging for an order to “help the unit.” (Not that it would have worked on me anyway.)

Anyway – back to your dog……

Since it is illegal in most states to charge sales tax on anything but the actual sales price and since one of the “selling points” of being a beauty consultant is getting your product at 50% off, when I bought product from myself at wholesale, I only charged myself sales tax on the wholesale amount. Likewise, when I sold to a customer at a discount, I only charged them sales tax on the actual sale price. I would then submit a Sales Tax Refund Request form so that I could be reimbursed for uncovered sales tax. Things went along smoothly until one day, instead of receiving a check, I got a form letter denying my request for a refund on sales tax for all the items that I had sold myself.

Over the course of the next 3 days which included no less than 5 phone calls to my regional office as well as Dallas, I was repeatedly told that Consultants are not eligible for a sales tax refund on personal-use items or eligible for the Product Replacement for personal use items…..I guess they assume that we all “steal” our products from ourselves rather than actually pay ourselves for them. I even offered to forward them a copy of the canceled checks that matched the sales slips, showing that it had been deposited from one account to another on the same date as the sales slip……no dice.

I finally asked to talk to someone in Legal. Hey – you would think that those who work in the Legal Department would know a thing or two about the law, right? You would be wrong. They insisted that I was required to pay sales tax on the full retail value of the product, even though the catalogs only say that it is the SUGGESTED retail value and that I didn’t PAY retail for it AND it is illegal in my state to charge sales tax on anything but the actual sales price.

As I’m pleading my case to a woman who is obviously not a charter member of Mensa, a thought occurred to me. I asked if it was the address on the sales slip or the name that had “flagged” my refund request. She told me that it was the name. I then asked if it would have been processed if I had submitted the same exact sales slip with the same address, but the name “Chelsea” instead of “Mindi”. She said it would absolutely go through. I asked if a product replacement would go through without being flagged if I used the name Chelsea. She assured me it would.

I then asked if it mattered that Chelsea was a 5lb Yorkshire Terrier and really had a hard time writing checks and/or expressing her displeasure with Orange Crush lipstick not looking good with her coloring.

Her response? Nervous laughter and then an admission that, as long as it wasn’t MY name on the forms, it wasn’t a problem.

So there you have it ladies! If you need to use the Product Replacement form or Sales Tax Refund Request for any personal use products…NEVER use your own name. Submit the forms in the name of your dog (or cat) and they should sail right through!


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