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Old January 31st, 2007, 12:40 AM
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Default Carnival charges Sales Tax in ports!

Me & hubby recently cruised with Carnival from NY to New England & Canada. We always present our credit card info upon embarkation and scan our account statements for obvious errors (i.e. charges for purchases we did not make, or credits not applied correctly, etc) Upon returning home I compared our "paper receipts" with each item on the statement and discovered that we were charged SALES TAX on 3 occasions in 3 different cocktail lounges while on-board. I called a customer svc rep at Carnival who could not explain the charges; he kept telling me I was reading the "tips/gratuity" column - when I advised him that I was referring to the TAX column, he again started to argue with me as if I were an idiot! I asked for a supervisor, who could not explain the charges either and suggested I write to Carnival in Florida, to the President's office (I did). After approximately 5 weeks with no reply, I sent an e-mail to Carnival asking that they at least have the courtesy to answer my inquiry, if in fact they had an answer. About two weeks after that I received a letter from Carnival stating that their policy is this: When a passenger ship is docked in port on any U.S. mainland, province or within U.S. territorial waters, any "taxable" purchase is charged to the passenger using the appropriate tax rate for that particular port! If you decide to stay on the ship (docked) and, for instance, have order a drink (at the bar or in the dining room, room srvice, etc) or buy something on-board (if any shop is open), your account will be assessed the appropriate reciprocal sales tax rate in that port city. NYC rate is 8.375%, Boston is 5%, Maine 4.5%, and so on! I questioned the "policy" asking how they track, report and remit these collected "taxes" to the finance agencies in each city/port - the reply I received was something like, 'we have a very sophisticated accounting system - too involved to go into detail'. End of story. I am a retired bookkeeper with many years of experience with interstate and interagency reciprocal tax reporting....it's not that difficult to comprehend!!! Believe me, it's not the amount of the charge that concerned me, it was minimal compared to what I spend on cruise trips; I felt that it was just another "sucker-punch" to the unsuspecting passenger's wallet; I doubt any of the "taxes" they collect go into any other pocket except theirs! Just a heads-up to fellow cruisers....check your in-cabin statements often, especially on days when your ship is docked in any American territory and you decide to cool off with the Drink-of-the-Day before the ship leaves port; what's next??? Rationing the toilet paper????? I'd like to hear from any other cruisers who have experienced this new "policy" or if you have any comments regarding this topic. Thanks for letting me blow off this steam....
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Old January 31st, 2007, 02:38 AM
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#1. You could have picked up on this really fast if you would have checked the reciept you get after every drink or purchase (it is itemised with sales tax separate).

#2. If your to busy check at that time, you should reconcile the bill and match your reciepts to the final tab that they give you the last night.

#3. I don't know about the other cruise lines but RCCL is now doing the same thing.

#4. As a retired bookeeper, it would seem that you would pay more attention to your onboard charges.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 06:51 AM
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I thought everyone knew they charged tax while in a U.S. port.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 08:26 PM
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Hi beachbumMom,

As the others have said, this is not a new policy. Until you're in international waters, the state you sail from collects sales taxes on anything you buy (which would only be drinks since the shops are only open in international waters).

I agree, it's not much, but cruisers should be told about it.

I don't think they'll be rationing TP anytime soon, but you never know !
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