Yes, your Amazon Prime membership fee is subject to retail sales tax

FILE- In this May 9, 2017, file photo, a package from Amazon Prime is loaded for delivery in New York. Amazon's Prime Day starts July 16, 2018, and will be six hours longer than last year's and will launch new products. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Everyone who has an Amazon Prime membership knows the price jumped in May, from $99 a year, to $119.

Cindy Lingel was prepared for that. But she was not prepared to be charged sales tax on a simple membership.

"I was told to expect 119 dollars," Lingel said. "I just looked at the charge on my credit card and I saw 129 dollars and 71 cents."

Lingel was not happy and wanted an explanation.

"I just think memberships are something, to me, that have not been taxed in the past," Lingel exclaimed.

Lingel is far from the only Amazon Prime member who did not know that the state Department of Revenue has required a sales tax charge on Prime memberhips for a number of years.

The sales tax was even charged when the Prime membership was $99. The added sales tax in Washington state was $10.20.

Many customers don't catch the tax. In fact, a lot of Prime members I surveyed admit they never really check.

The law's been in place for some time.

According to RCW 82.08.190 "If any of component products or services would be subject to retail sales tax, then the entire membership fee is a bundled transaction subject to retail sales tax."

I explained all that to Lingel.

"At least now I know what's going on and what's behind it. Do I agree with it? No. But, you know, it is what it is." Lingel said.

Lingel says she'll start keeping track of what she orders from Amazon to see if $119 plus sales tax is worth it for her bottom line.

Membership sales tax rules vary state to state.

If you live in Washington state, it's important to know that other memberships are also subject to sales tax - including gyms and fitness centers, shopping clubs, even some golf and tennis clubs.

So if you pay for memberships, check your statements. You might be as surprise as Cindy Lingel was.

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