Del Mar's 92014 zip code straddles two cities

One percent tax difference gets neighbors talking
Posted at 7:09 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 22:09:26-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Shoppers in Del Mar Heights are checking their receipts after learning through a social media app that some merchants are charging more sales tax than they should. 

Last year the City of Del Mar raised its sales tax to 8.75 percent, but the tax rate only applies to businesses within the city.  The problem arose when some businesses that share Del Mar's zip code, but get San Diego services, mistakenly charged the higher Del Mar rate. 

San Diego's sales tax is 7.75 percent. 

David did not want to give his last name, but he checked his receipt for the Jack in the Box restaurant in the beachside shopping center and discovered he'd been charged the higher tax rate, an extra 8-cents. 

David didn't complain to management and told us 8-cents wasn't a big set-back but did say he believed the problem should be corrected.  Several of his neighbors posted comments on the Nextdoor social media site about other establishments doing the same thing. 

10News made purchases at three stores and found they charged the correct sales tax, but when we bought a salad and iced tea from Jack in the Box, we were charged at the Del Mar rate of 8.75 percent, just like David.  Another customer who did not want his name used also shared a receipt showing he paid at the higher rate. He also had a receipt dated April 24 of this year, showing he overpaid sales tax to the Del Mar Wine Company in the same shopping center. 

A spokesman for Jack in the Box told 10News the franchise made an honest mistake and re-set its cash registers to reflect the correct sales tax. 

A clerk at the wine store told 10News to email the manager.  As of this posting, he had not responded. 

10News Contacted the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.  Spokesman Paul Cambra explained that Del Mar was one of the few pockets of California that have a "zip code split".  Cambra called it a common problem when zip code boundaries don't match city boundaries. 

In an email to 10News Cambra wrote:

"If a taxpayer overcharges, we will tell them to either return it to the customer or remit it to the CDTFA. If they have undercharged, they will still owe the tax, and depending on when they remit it, they may also be charged interest and penalties." 

Cambra noted that no consumer complaints about being overcharged had come from the 92014 zip code. 

Consumers are encouraged to know the sales tax in the communities where they shop. You can look up sales tax rates by clicking here