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Should you tip on tax?

I have always been, I think, a reasonably generous tipper. I almost always leave 20% of the total (including tax) in nice restaurants, and often push it up to 23-25% in places where I am a "regular" and get treated especially well. In very casual coffee shops, I usually tip 15-18% of the total bill.

I have recently been told that tipping on the tax is excessive and unnecessary. Upon calculating it out, I realized that a 20% tip on the bill including tax, is equivalent to about 22% of the food/drink portion of the bill. What do you folks do...do you tip on the total bill including tax, or on the total without tax? Just curious!

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  1. If you normally tip 20% for good, competent service, no need to tip on the tax. If your tipping scale starts at 15%, then tip on the entire check including tax. If you are getting table service at a really inexpensive place, such as the Chinese lunch combos I regularly get that cost $7.52 including tax and a server has brought me soup, entree, water, and the check, then it should be a couple of bucks minimum, even if that comes to over 25%. If the check is large and a substantial portion is an expensive bottle of wine, then tipping on the bill before tax is ok. If you are a consistent customer and the staff remembers to bring some of your usual requests without you asking (for me that is a large glass of water with lots of ice and the hot sauce) then you are probably tipping ok. If you walk in and a server guides you to a seat that ends up being in another server's section, you may want to rethink your tipping or manners, or hygiene.

    1. I tip on tax. Lots of differing opinions on this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/488400

      1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/488400
        This subject was covered to the tune of 101 replies here.
        I won't tip on tax. What special skill, effort, or talent was exhibited in their serving me this tax? None. Why should servers in a place such as Oregon, my home, where there is no sales tax but significant property/income tax suffer an automatic reduction in their tip because the register doesn't automatically inflate the bill? No way.
        And to those who tell me it doesn't really amount to much: I don't care. It's the idea of it. And yes, over time, it does amount to a great deal.

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          1. Tax is for the city and state, I tip on the amount before tax, that is the food and bev charge. Also, I hate it when you see the ccard receipt recommending an 18 or 20% calc tip and the calc is done including tax, NOT!