Several states in the United States do not have a sales tax, and some states with a sales tax have exclusions. Exclusions include food, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. A few states allow a rebate or refund for low-income families, and some states allow cities to impose a tax on food, although the state does not tax food. Other states tax prepared food but not groceries. A review of states with sales tax on food in 2010 shows 15 states that tax groceries. Following is a list of these states and their taxation rates as of 2010.
Arkansas and Alabama
Arkansas taxes groceries at 6 percent, and Alabama tax on food is 4 percent. These states both exclude prescription drugs from taxation.
Hawaii and Idaho
Tax on food in Hawaii is 4 percent and Idaho tax on food is 6 percent. Both Hawaii and Idaho have an income credit for qualifying low-income households. Idaho excludes prescription drugs from taxation.
Illinois and Kansas
Illinois has 6.2 percent sales tax that applies to food, with 1 percent for local taxation of food. Kansas has 5.3 percent sales tax on food with an income credit available to qualifying households. State Representative Sean Tevis of Kansas reported in 2008 that local taxation by cities and counties in addition to the 5.3 percent raised food taxes to more than 7 percent in some areas.
Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma
Mississippi sales tax is 7 percent. Prescription drugs are exempt, but Mississippi taxes groceries at this rate. Missouri sales tax is 4.225 percent, but Missouri taxes food at 1.225 percent. Oklahoma sales tax on food is 4.5 percent, with an exclusion for prescription drugs.
South Carolina and South Dakota
The South Carolina Department of Revenue shows 5 percent taxation on food, but local taxing bodies may also tax food at a local tax rate. South Carolina taxes food purchased by elderly persons (over 85) at 4 percent. South Dakota taxes food at 4 percent and provides an income credit for low-income households.
Tennessee and Utah
Tennessee has 7 percent taxation on sales, but food tax is 6 percent. Utah taxes groceries at 3 percent in 2010, but taxes hot food and prepared foods at 4.70 percent, the regular sales and use tax figure.
Virginia and West Virginia
Virginia reduced the tax rate on groceries for home consumption in 2005 to 2.5 percent, with local taxes 1 percent of this figure. West Virginia taxes grocery food items at 3 percent, effective July 1, 2008, according to the West Virginia State Tax Department. West Virginia taxes food served with serving utensils, hot food and vending machine food at 6 percent.
- Stateline: Food Sales Tax on States' Chopping Blocks
- Money-zine.com: State Sales Tax Rates
- Sean Tevis: No Sales Tax on Food
- West Virginia State Tax Department: Three Percent Food Tax
- South Carolina Department of Revenue: Frequently Asked Questions: Food
- South Dakota Department of Social Services: Sales Tax on Food Refund Program
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