CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston merchants are gearing up for the city's half-cent per dollar sales tax that takes effect Tuesday.
Nancy Ward, co-owner of Cornucopia in South Hills, believes the money is going toward a good cause; it's earmarked for renovations to the Charleston Civic Center. But she says implementing the tax has not been easy to understand.
"It's been a little confusing because it's not really clear as to when this is going into effect," Ward said last week. "Just the other day we called down to the company that takes care of our cash registers to see about getting [the sales tax rate] changed and they were not even sure about when it's going to take effect."
The state Tax Commission says they mailed letters to businesses 120 days prior to the tax taking effect.
Ward said the store is planning to change its registers to reflect the new tax rate. She did not want to make the change too soon and charge customers more than needed, but also didn't want to not charge the tax and be responsible for it later.
Joe Estep, Charleston's finance director, believes businesses have had ample time to prepare and make changes. He also doesn't think the tax will force shoppers outside city limits.
The city of Huntington started charging 1 percent sales tax in January 2012. Brandi Jacobs-Jones, Huntington's finance director, and said the biggest issue implementing the tax was communicating with businesses.
"When we began there were some issues with some businesses outside the city who thought they were inside the city," Jacobs-Jones said. "Of course any time you have a change in tax or fiscal policy you are going to hear feedback but outside of those first two weeks we have heard no complaints."
The most confusing area for Charleston's tax might be along Corridor G, where some stores are in Charleston and some are in South Charleston. Sam's Club, Gander Mountain and the shops in Dudley Farms Plaza, including Kohl's, Office Max and Books-A-Million, are located in Charleston and will take on the new tax rate, Estep said.
Tammy Krepshaw's business, The Consignment Company, has operated in downtown Charleston for almost 12 years. But she didn't know about the upcoming change until a reporter told her last week.