Do you calculate your tip before or after the tax?

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Posted by Serraph105 (33527 posts) 2 months, 16 days ago

Poll: Do you calculate your tip before or after the tax? (19 votes)

Before tax 26%
After tax 74%

For people who tip their waiters, do you use the amount spent on the food and drinks, but exclude the amount added via tax, or do you take the grand total of everything and tip on that amount?

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#1 Posted by Horgen (119964 posts) -

I rarely tip, and if I do, it's about 10%. Tipping isn't super common here. Thankfully, as it does nothing but making the meal more expensive. The cost of the meal already includes paying the wages to the waiter and staff working there. Well cost associated with running a restaurant.

taxes always included so the tip is calculated after taxes.

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#2 Posted by SOedipus (11359 posts) -

I think it’s after. I pay with debit/credit and the machines calculate for you, whichever amount you decide to tip.

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#3 Posted by GTR12 (13442 posts) -

Don't tip here.

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#4 Posted by npiet1 (1945 posts) -

I've only been tip once, which was $50 at Hungry Jacks (aussies burger king) for a $20 meal. Some girl got tipped $300 for a kids party. It's really uncommon here.

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#5 Posted by plageus900 (2653 posts) -

No sales tax here.

I tip 5 dollars for every 30 dollars spent.

Unless they suck. They I tip nothing.

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#6 Posted by quadraleap (36580 posts) -

Great service I do 20 percent and from there it goes down.

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#7 Posted by MrGeezer (59763 posts) -

Honestly, I don't think i've ever thought that much about it. I'm not so strict about it that I have to pull out a calculator or anything, I just do a ballpark estimate and then kind of go up or down a little bit depending on how I'm feeling.

I'm not sure that 20% of an 8% sales tax really matters much in the long run anyway. I mean, if I'm tipping 20% on a $100 tab, the tip on the tax would still end up being less than $2. Either way, the tip on the tax only comes out to less than $2, which is pretty insignificant if I'm already shooting for about a $20 tip regardless.

I guess it just depends on how I find out what I owe. If I don't know what the bill is, I wait to get presented with a bill and use that to figure my tip. Since the bill includes tax, I guess in those cases I tip on the tax too.

But if it's something like me being a regular at a spot and knowing what I owe beforehand because I am a regular and get the same thing often, I don't even think about the tax or even the tip. I know what I'm going to be tipping, so I really don't even need to look at the bill. In any case, I definitely don't get a bill and then do the extra step of subtracting the tax before figuring the tip. There's just zero reason to be that precise when any tax on the tip is going to be insignificant anyway.

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#8 Posted by MonsieurX (38900 posts) -

You're supposed to tip before tax

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#9 Edited by mrbojangles25 (43558 posts) -

I use the tax as my metric for tipping; in general, I will tip 2 x tax and round up. So if a meal has a tax of 5.67, that'd be an 11.34 tip, round up to 12 (or 14 if it's good service).

The accepted rule for tipping (in the US) is that you tip 15% standard. California tax is 7.25%, so double tax + rounding up generally works out just fine.

If the service is really great, I will tip 20-25% which is generally pretty easy just 1/5 to 1/4 of the total meal price.

I worked in restaurants for like 12 years, I know how much tips are appreciated. But I also know servers can be absolute crap, so I have no qualms giving them a big fat 0 if they suck.

@MrGeezer said:

Honestly, I don't think i've ever thought that much about it. I'm not so strict about it that I have to pull out a calculator or anything, I just do a ballpark estimate and then kind of go up or down a little bit depending on how I'm feeling.

I'm not sure that 20% of an 8% sales tax really matters much in the long run anyway. I mean, if I'm tipping 20% on a $100 tab, the tip on the tax would still end up being less than $2. Either way, the tip on the tax only comes out to less than $2, which is pretty insignificant if I'm already shooting for about a $20 tip regardless.

Yeah, same. If the meal is 95, or 105, or 110....I'm giving them a 20-dollar bill as a tip. Like you said, not pulling out my calculator.

I do cash if at all possible as well so they can pocket it; if it's on the card/receipt, it goes into the system, and then it becomes part of their official (i.e. taxed) wages.

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#10 Posted by shellcase86 (4324 posts) -

Never thought about it, but I tip with the after tax amount. 20% if they're above average, 15% if they're average -- and less if they're less.

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#11 Posted by Serraph105 (33527 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:

Honestly, I don't think i've ever thought that much about it. I'm not so strict about it that I have to pull out a calculator or anything, I just do a ballpark estimate and then kind of go up or down a little bit depending on how I'm feeling.

I'm not sure that 20% of an 8% sales tax really matters much in the long run anyway. I mean, if I'm tipping 20% on a $100 tab, the tip on the tax would still end up being less than $2. Either way, the tip on the tax only comes out to less than $2, which is pretty insignificant if I'm already shooting for about a $20 tip regardless.

I guess it just depends on how I find out what I owe. If I don't know what the bill is, I wait to get presented with a bill and use that to figure my tip. Since the bill includes tax, I guess in those cases I tip on the tax too.

But if it's something like me being a regular at a spot and knowing what I owe beforehand because I am a regular and get the same thing often, I don't even think about the tax or even the tip. I know what I'm going to be tipping, so I really don't even need to look at the bill. In any case, I definitely don't get a bill and then do the extra step of subtracting the tax before figuring the tip. There's just zero reason to be that precise when any tax on the tip is going to be insignificant anyway.

I pull out a calculator/my phone every time, but that's mostly because I'm bad at math and it's just easier that way.

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#12 Posted by Serraph105 (33527 posts) -

@shellcase86 said:

Never thought about it, but I tip with the after tax amount. 20% if they're above average, 15% if they're average -- and less if they're less.

I pretty much just always do 20% unless they are just really bad at their jobs and I have an actively bad experience. Lately though I have switched from tipping after tax to before the tax because the tax isn't really part of the service.

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#13 Posted by PSP107 (17407 posts) -

@mrbojangles25: "If the meal is 95, or 105, or 110."

What kind of meal cost that much?

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#14 Posted by Byshop (19520 posts) -

@PSP107 said:

@mrbojangles25: "If the meal is 95, or 105, or 110."

What kind of meal cost that much?

It really depends on where and what you eat. A steak at a high end steakhouse, good quality seafood/sushi, delicacies like caviar, etc.

For anyone not aware, tipping is pretty much a US thing. I don't call it a "custom" because it's so expected that it's factored into wages. Employees who work in a "tipped" profession make less than the minimum wage because the tips are expected to more than make up the difference, and tipped income is factored into their income tax. Some restaurants may require employees to pool/share their tips in various ways with other employees. The expectation is that if you eat at a restaurant you are providing a tip on top of what you are charged for the bill. 20% is considered a tip for good service. Other professions might accept tips like delivery drivers or bartenders but the expectation in those positions is not nearly as high and they make a normal (or closer to normal) wage.

Personally I usually go 20-25% of the total check (including tax). It's usually not hard to figure out what a quarter of any number is off the top of your head, and then you can just reduce slightly from that. For smaller bills at places like bars I tip way more. If I buy one drink I'll usually tip 100%.

-Byshop

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#16 Posted by THUMPTABLE (2078 posts) -

@Serraph105 said:
@MrGeezer said:

Honestly, I don't think i've ever thought that much about it. I'm not so strict about it that I have to pull out a calculator or anything, I just do a ballpark estimate and then kind of go up or down a little bit depending on how I'm feeling.

I'm not sure that 20% of an 8% sales tax really matters much in the long run anyway. I mean, if I'm tipping 20% on a $100 tab, the tip on the tax would still end up being less than $2. Either way, the tip on the tax only comes out to less than $2, which is pretty insignificant if I'm already shooting for about a $20 tip regardless.

I guess it just depends on how I find out what I owe. If I don't know what the bill is, I wait to get presented with a bill and use that to figure my tip. Since the bill includes tax, I guess in those cases I tip on the tax too.

But if it's something like me being a regular at a spot and knowing what I owe beforehand because I am a regular and get the same thing often, I don't even think about the tax or even the tip. I know what I'm going to be tipping, so I really don't even need to look at the bill. In any case, I definitely don't get a bill and then do the extra step of subtracting the tax before figuring the tip. There's just zero reason to be that precise when any tax on the tip is going to be insignificant anyway.

I pull out a calculator/my phone every time, but that's mostly because I'm bad at math and it's just easier that way.

Surely the US would be better raising the minimum wage that's currently not really liveable and tipping would become far less important?
I know it does vary from state to state though.

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#17 Posted by Serraph105 (33527 posts) -

@THUMPTABLE: Well, unless they change rules around waiters, increasing the minimum wage won't actually affect them because they make less than that.

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#18 Posted by Mandzilla (3803 posts) -

People don't really tip here. Trust me, used to work in a restaurant lol.

I like to tip if it's a small business or family owned restaurant though. Also if the service is superb naturally.

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#19 Posted by mrbojangles25 (43558 posts) -

@PSP107 said:

@mrbojangles25: "If the meal is 95, or 105, or 110."

What kind of meal cost that much?

The kind with multiple people, and you're treating. Or the kind that is really unique and/or tasty.

I've paid 300 dollars for a 13-course tasting menu before. I would have paid double that, it was amazing.

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#20 Posted by foxhound_fox (97826 posts) -

I'm not a miser, so I tip on the full amount. And I also tip really well for good service (up to 25-30% on a meal over $100).

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#21 Posted by LJS9502_basic (166197 posts) -

20% after tax............

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#22 Posted by pyro1245 (4828 posts) -

I usually just 'eyeball it'. I don't think about it too much - not going to whip out a calculator or anything like that. It usually ends up being pretty generous.

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#23 Posted by Serraph105 (33527 posts) -

@pyro1245 said:

I usually just 'eyeball it'. I don't think about it too much - not going to whip out a calculator or anything like that. It usually ends up being pretty generous.

It's so weird that people treat pulling out a calculator as something that's difficult, because these days it means pulling out your phone which is something people do all the time.

I don't have a problem with you eyeballing it, it's just strange that people consider it too much to pull out a phone.

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#24 Posted by pyro1245 (4828 posts) -

@Serraph105: I'm pretty good at math, I guess. I just don't feel it's necessary to be exact.

Plus I think most waiters would prefer cash.

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#25 Posted by Serraph105 (33527 posts) -

@pyro1245 said:

@Serraph105: I'm pretty good at math, I guess. I just don't feel it's necessary to be exact.

Plus I think most waiters would prefer cash.

Oh they definitely do. No question about that.

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#26 Posted by MrGeezer (59763 posts) -

@Serraph105 said:

It's so weird that people treat pulling out a calculator as something that's difficult, because these days it means pulling out your phone which is something people do all the time.

I don't have a problem with you eyeballing it, it's just strange that people consider it too much to pull out a phone.

It's an extra step when no extra step is necessary.

And hey...I usually shoot for 20% rather than 18% or something like that. Why? Because 20% is still in the ballpark, and figuring it out mentally is a lot easier than mentally figuring out 18% (or at least it is given how I mentally do my calculations).

Bottom line is...I tip. And I tip generously. But I don't think that tipping needs to be an exact science or anything. You CAN pull out a calculator if you think it makes things easier for you. No problem with that. But it's not as if waiters are going to be hating you because you're off by a couple of percentage points.

"OMG, this person only tipped me 16% instead of 17%!" No waiters care that much about that. They're likely dealing with dozens of customers on any given shift, one customer being "off" by one or two percentage points isn't going to matter. I don't think it's a problem to pull out a calculator, I just don't find it necessary. I usually high-ball it a little bit with tips anyway, so if I'm short a percent or two then it's probably still well within "perfectly acceptable range". And if I'm that concerned about wasting an extra 2% or 3% because I didn't use a calculator, then I already spent way too much in the first place and the extra few percentage points aren't really going to cause any extra damage. If I'm cutting it THAT close with my funds, then I just plain don't go to those kinds of establishments at all.

I say this as someone who works in the industry: I think just ballparking it is usually sufficient. People don't need to be exact with it unless they just plain feel better doing so.

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#27 Posted by MrGeezer (59763 posts) -

@PSP107 said:

@mrbojangles25: "If the meal is 95, or 105, or 110."

What kind of meal cost that much?

I think the bigger point is that even if the meal costs that much, it's still not even an extra $2.

I rarely spend that kind of money when eating out. Closer for me (unless I'm paying for other customers) would be closer to $20 or $30. Maximum sales tax on that (at least in my state) would be about two and a half dollars. 20% tip on that tax is like, 50 cents.

Any way you look at it, the tip on the tax is irrelevant. If I'm eating out at a restaurant and have a $30 tab, I don't think that either I or my server is going to give a damn if the tip goes up or down by 50 cents. If the overall tab is small, the tip on the tax is going to be so small that it only amounts to spare change. And if the tip on the tax is significant, then you've already spent so much goddamn money that the tip on the tax is still insignificant by comparison. If either party (the customer or the waiter) NEEDS the tip to be that precise, then they've got much bigger problems.

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#28 Posted by shellcase86 (4324 posts) -

@Serraph105 said:
@shellcase86 said:

Never thought about it, but I tip with the after tax amount. 20% if they're above average, 15% if they're average -- and less if they're less.

I pretty much just always do 20% unless they are just really bad at their jobs and I have an actively bad experience. Lately though I have switched from tipping after tax to before the tax because the tax isn't really part of the service.

Fair point. I find I almost always do 20% just because the math is simpler.

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#29 Posted by revceo (4 posts) -
@GTR12 said:

Don't tip here.

Of course...

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#30 Posted by mattbbpl (16891 posts) -

Typically 20% after tax. I've become a better tipper as I've gotten older although I'm not really sure why.

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#31 Edited by phbz (4216 posts) -

Yes, typically about 0% unless I feel like the person did a service I consider to be above and beyond the expected.

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#32 Posted by tenaka2 (17148 posts) -

You need to add another option, not being a cheap ass.

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#33 Posted by Serraph105 (33527 posts) -

@tenaka2 said:

You need to add another option, not being a cheap ass.

Restaurants sometimes have it set up so they give you the amount you might want to pay for the tip with varying percents, usually 18%. 20%, and 22%. Now, some places have it set up as a tip before tax and others have it set up as tipping after the tax, but unless you do the math yourself, as I became very use to doing, you would never notice the discrepency. It was mostly the fact that restaurants were asking for less money than I was calculating it out to be that I started tipping before the tax. That and the fact that tax isn't part of the service.

I guess the question I have is, who's being cheap? Me for tipping the suggested amount, or the restaurants who aren't calculating the tips post-tax?

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#34 Posted by archcherub (9 posts) -

holy shit. i always calculate BEFORE tax.

i hope im not wrong in this.

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#36 Edited by Gamester (5 posts) -

Always after tax. Don't forget if you tip on a card their tip is going to be taxed :S

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#37 Edited by Georgey128 (8 posts) -

i think the tips is one of the waiter or bellman income, so it should be their tax.