We are a group of accountants from China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and we have named ourselves the Breakthough Group. However, when we first experienced sales tax in the United States, it was like someone sticking their hands in our pockets to grab some extra change, and this brought us some terrible feelings that we could hardly break through!

We are a group of accountants from China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and we have named ourselves the Breakthough Group. However, when we first experienced sales tax in the United States, it was like someone sticking their hands in our pockets to grab some extra change, and this brought us some terrible feelings that we could hardly break through!

Since we all majored in accounting or taxation, we were pretty sure that something was wrong. We rechecked the receipt and found that at the bottom of the receipt showed Sales Tax and this is the amount that we were extra charged. We were confused and asked each other if anyone had a clue about this. Then after discussion, we finally figured out what was going on. Our group member, Lee explained to us that in the United States, sales tax was separated from sales price, and was collected directly from the consumers when we buy goods or services.

This was a culture bump for us. Because in China, how government collect consumption taxes is different from the U.S. In China, value added tax (VAT) is collected at different stages of manufacturing. That means the manufacturer already paid the tax to the government and have added them to the sales price. So when the consumers pay for goods or services, we only have to pay the amount shown on the price tag. We learnt that most of the countries around world use the VAT structure while only US and a few countries are using the sales tax module.

It seems there should be no trouble for us since we have to pay tax anyway both in China and the U.S., nevertheless the forms of paying it. However, we still feel reluctant every time we pay 'extra-money' to the salesperson. Although the total money may be the same, we think we would be much happier if the tax is hided behind the price tag. To Chinese people, paying VAT is more convenient because we don’t have to stand by the shelf and think about what is the exact money that we have to pay. But in the U.S., we have to remember to add tax by ourselves in advance, otherwise we would be surprised by the receipt again and again.

By the Breakthrough Team

CNPC Training 2019

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