Why the medical device excise tax should have been applied to all the items listed in the receipts pictured above is something of a mystery. The state of Texas (where these receipts are said to have originated) allows sellers to pass along the expense of the new medical device excise tax to customers by “separately stating a line item charge on the invoice or receipt given to their customers for ‘Federal Excise Tax’ or something similar,” but the vendor, Cabela’s, is a retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor recreation merchandise not known for selling medical devices, and the items listed in the receipts (such as a Ruger Attache Pistol Case) would not seem by any stretch of the imagination to fit FDA definitions of medical devices. It’s possible that some vendors switched over to new sales software on 1 January 2013 that was programmed to accommodate the new tax but improperly applied it to all purchases rather than just those of qualifying medical devices.

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