Sales tax on groceries questioned in Kansas

sales tax on groceries

In most states, there is no sales tax on groceries. In others, they are taxed at a reduced rate, and a small number, such as Kansas, include them fully in the tax base. Source: The Tax Foundation, 2011.

Most states collect no sales tax on groceries, meaning food purchased for home preparation and consumption is usually tax exempt. According to the Federation of Tax Administrators, six states currently tax groceries at a lower rate than the general state sales tax. Seven other states charge their full rate of sales tax on groceries.

One of those seven states is Kansas, which recently increased its statewide sales tax from 6.15% to 6.5%. Kansas also permits local governments to add their own sales tax, which raises the rate upwards of 9% in some parts of the state. This means Kansas charges the “second highest” grocery tax in the United States, according to KC Healthy Kids, a Kansas City-based public health organization.

KC Healthy Kids recently released a study in conjunction with the Kansas Public Finance Center at Wichita State University which highlighted the regressive nature of Kansas’ grocery tax. That is, households earning less than $10,000 per year pay, on average, 5.2% more of their income in grocery taxes than households earning more than $200,000 per year. Households in non-metropolitan (rural) areas also tend to pay more in grocery taxes than households located in urban areas.

Does sales tax on groceries contribute to obesity?

The study further suggested Kansas’ high grocery tax may contribute to obesity, since low-income consumers purchase less healthy convenience foods as they “are often cheaper than fresh foods.” KC Healthy Kids, which fights childhood obesity, said reducing or eliminating the Kansas sales tax on groceries would therefore help promote healthier eating. “Research has found that higher fruit and vegetable prices leads to increased obesity,” the group said in a policy brief which, not surprisingly, indicated more than 86% of Kansans would support eliminating the grocery tax altogether.

Kansas does offer limited relief for low-income households in the form of a “Food Sales Tax Credit,” which is $125 per year for each exempt member of a taxpayer’s household. The credit is available to any taxpayer with less than $30,615 in federal adjusted gross income. This is not a refundable credit, however, so only taxpayers who already owe state income tax may claim it.

But that is not enough, according to critics like KC Healthy Kids, who are demanding the Kansas legislature repeal the grocery tax during its 2016 session. According to the Kansas City Star, several lawmakers support reducing or eliminating the grocery tax, although concerns remain about the potential loss of revenue. “State officials estimate that a 1 percent reduction in the sales tax on groceries this fiscal year would result in about $66 million less revenue to the state,” the Star reported, but KC Healthy Kids noted “eliminating the sales tax on fruits and vegetables” could lead to a reduction in the state’s estimated $1.3 billion in annual obesity-related expenditures.

S.M. Oliva is a writer living in Charlottesville, Virginia. He edits the international legal blog PrivyCouncil.info

Sales tax rates and use tax changes for July 2015

Sales tax rates – July 2015

Sales tax rates have changed in 20 states and Puerto Rico and there were 13 states with ZIP code changes in Zip2Tax products since June 2015. Sales and or use tax rates are changed in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.

In Alabama, tax rates changed for Cedar Bluff and Fairview.

In Arkansas, tax rates changed for El Dorado, Manila, Moorefield and Ouichita County.

In Arizona, tax rates changed for Graham County and the city of Marana.

In California, tax rates changed for the city of Weed.

In Colorado, tax rates changed for Georgetown.

In Georgia, tax rates changed for the counties of Muscogee and Whitfield.

In Iowa, tax rates changed for Lone Tree, Solon, Hills, Swisher and West Branch.

In Illinois, tax rates changed for Carbon Cliff, Carbondale, Coulterville, Crestwood, Deland, Elkville, Glenwood, Highwood, La Grange, Lyons, Montgomery, Morrison, Oglesby, Rantoul, Rock Falls, Toledo, Wadsworth, Westmont, and the counties of Calhoun, Greene, Jefferson, Jersey, Jo Davies, Knox, McDonough, Morgan, Perry, Piatt, Scott, White and Whiteside.

In Kansas, the state rate changed and there were tax rates changes for Clifton, Hutchinson, Lyndon, Marquette, and the counties of Gove, Morton, and Nemaha.

In Louisiana, tax rates changed for Winn Parish, Claiborne Parish, and Calcasieu Parish.

In Minnesota, tax rates changed for Hubbard County.

In Missouri, tax rates changed for Cape Girardeau, Hold County, Lawrence County, Buffalo, California, Concordia, Hannibal and Saint Joseph.

In New Mexico, tax rates changed for the counties of Bernalillo, Chaves, Dona Ana, Luna, Roosevelt, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sierra, Torrance, Valencia, and the cities of Artesia, Sliver City, and Kirtland.

In Ohio, tax rates changed for the county of Richland.

In Oklahoma, tax rates changed for Barnsdall, Castle, Clinton, Colbert, Commerce, Foster, Rattan, Vici and the counties of Custer and Cotton.

In Puerto Rico, the possession tax rate changed.

In South Dakota, tax rates changed for Columbia and Westport.

In Texas, tax rates changed for Garrett, Sandy Oaks and Kendleton.

In Utah, tax rates changed for Farmington.

In Washington, tax rates changed for Sequim TBD and Dayton TBD.

In West Virginia, tax rates changed for Bolivar, Charles Town, Charleston, Martinsburg, Milton, Nitro, Parkersburg, Ranson, Thomas, Vienna and Wheeling.

There were 13 states with ZIP code changes effective after June 2015 including Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah. A PDF document enumerating ZIP code additions and deletions can be made available upon request.

For June’s changes click here.

Angel Downs, Zip2Tax's ead tax researcher

Angel Downs, Zip2Tax’s lead tax researcher

Should you charge sales tax on shipping?

Sales tax on shipping

Whether or not you should charge sales tax on shipping charges depends on several factors

Shipping charges may be exempt from sales tax if some or all of the following apply:

  1. Delivery by common carrier or USPS
  2. Charges stated separately and not bundled with other charges such as handling
  3. Shipping charges are not included in the price of the item
  4. Purchased items are tax exempt
  5. If shipment includes both exempt and taxable property the seller should allocate the delivery charge and tax the non-exempt portion.
  6. Charges paid by purchaser
  7. Delivery and billing by independent contractor who is not the seller and paid by the purchaser
  8. Delivery charges are optional
  9. Delivery is separately contracted
  10. Items delivered outside the state
  11. Retailer is engaged in a separate delivery business
  12. Shipment is made direct to the purchaser
  13. Shipment occurs after title passes to purchaser

 

Taxability of shipping rules by state

Some states apply sales tax on shipping based on the shipping agreement in relation to the item’s transfer of title to the purchaser while others treat shipping as a non-taxable service if contracted for independently. Some states try to merge these two approaches thereby creating a patchwork of regulations and opaque rules.

While not a fail-safe approach, here are a few best practices to improve your company’s chances of avoiding having to collect sales tax on shipping: Have the buyer pay the freight charges; bill the transportation charges separately following the sale; pass the title to the purchaser before shipping; and use a common carrier or the US mail.

Following is a list of the basic tax on shipping rules for each state and a few of their most general exceptions and caveats.

Refer to the numbered exemptions listed above

Alabama – Shipping is not taxable in Alabama (AL) if 1 and 2.

Arizona – Shipping is not taxable in Arizona (AZ) if 2.

Arkansas – Shipping is taxable in Arkansas (AR).

California – Shipping is not taxable in California (CA) if 1, 2, 7 or 13.

Colorado – Some shipping is taxable in Colorado (CO) except if 2, 3 and 8; certain localities may tax all shipping.

Connecticut – Shipping is taxable in Connecticut (CT) except 4.

District of Columbia – Some shipping is taxable in the District of Columbia (DC) except when 2 and 13.

Florida – Some shipping is taxable in Florida (FL) except when 2 and 8 or 2 and 13.

Georgia – Shipping is taxable in Georgia (GA) with certain exceptions.

Hawaii – Shipping is taxable in Hawaii (HI) except 10.

Idaho – Shipping is not taxable in Idaho (ID) if 2.

Illinois – Some shipping is not taxable in Illinois (IL) if 9.

Indiana – Shipping is taxable in Indiana (IN) but 5.

Iowa – Shipping is not taxable in Iowa (IA) if 2 or 9 but 5.

Kansas – Shipping is taxable in Kansas (KS) but 5.

Kentucky – Shipping is taxable in Kentucky (KY)

Louisiana – Shipping is not taxable in Louisiana (LA) if 2 and 13.

Maine – Some shipping is taxable in Maine (ME) except when 1 and 2 and 12 all apply.

Maryland – Shipping is not taxable in Maryland (MD) if 2.

Massachusetts – Some shipping is taxable in Massachusetts (MA) except when 2 and other exceptions.

Michigan – Shipping is taxable in Michigan (MI) except when 11 or 13 but 5.

Minnesota – Shipping is taxable in Minnesota (MN) but 5.

Mississippi – Shipping is taxable in Mississippi (MS)

Missouri – Some shipping is taxable in Missouri (MO) except when 2 and 8.

Nebraska – Shipping is taxable in Nebraska (NE) but 5.

Nevada – Some shipping is taxable in Nevada (NV) except 2 and 13.

New Jersey – Shipping is taxable in New Jersey (NJ) except when 4.

New Mexico – Shipping is taxable in New Mexico (NM)

New York – Shipping is taxable in New York (NY)

North Carolina – Shipping is taxable in North Carolina (NC) but 5.

North Dakota – Shipping is taxable in North Dakota (ND) but 5.

Ohio – Shipping is taxable in Ohio (OH) but 5 and except 6.

Oklahoma – Shipping is not taxable in Oklahoma (OK) if 2 and 3 but 5.

Pennsylvania – Shipping is taxable in Pennsylvania (PA) except when 4 or 7.

Rhode Island – Shipping is taxable Rhode Island (RI) except 7.

South Carolina – Shipping is taxable South Carolina (SC) except 13.

South Dakota – Shipping is taxable in South Dakota (SD) except 7 but 5.

Tennessee – Shipping is taxable in Tennessee (TN) except 7.

Texas – Shipping is taxable in Texas (TX) except 7.

Utah – Some shipping is taxable in Utah (UT) except when 1, 2 and 3 but 5.

Vermont – Shipping is taxable in Vermont (VT)

Virginia – Shipping is not taxable in Virginia (VA) if 2.

Washington – Shipping is taxable in Washington (WA) except 13.

West Virginia – Shipping is taxable in West Virginia (WV) except 1 , 2 and 7.

Wisconsin – Shipping is taxable in Wisconsin (WI) but 5.

Wyoming – Shipping is not taxable in Wyoming (WY) if 2.

As always, we recommend you consult with the department of revenue for any state in which your company has nexus and ask for a determination in writing whenever the rules are confusing or contradictory.

Sales and use tax changes in Zip2Tax products for January 1, 2015

Sales tax rates – January 2015

Sales tax rates – January 2015

20 sales and use tax changes in Zip2Tax products since December 2014. There were changes in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

In Alabama, tax rates changed for Semmes, Cordova, Pine Hill, Piedmont, Florala and Hillsboro.

In Arkansas, tax rates changed for Farmington, Gassville, Harrison, Jonesboro and Quitman.

In Arizona, tax rates changed for Coconino County.

In Colorado, tax rates changed for Denver, Brush, Idaho Springs, La Veta, Boulder County and City, Larimer County, and Windsor.

In Florida, tax rates changed for Brevard, Charlotte, De Soto, Escambia, Hernando, Highlands, Leon, Monroe, Orange, Seminole and Volusia Counties.

In Georgia, tax rates changed for Brooks, Chattahoochee, Clinch, Muscogee, Seminole, Spalding and Twiggs Counties.

In Idaho, tax rates changed for Ketchum.

In Illinois, tax rates changed for Gurnee, New Baden, Skokie, Trenton, Vernon Hills, Waukegan, and Wilmette.

In Kansas, tax rates changed for Cherokee, Edwardsville, Goddard, Herington, Leon, Luray, Randolph, Smith Center, Utica and Chase County.

In Louisiana, tax rates changed for Doyline and Homer.

In Minnesota, tax rates changed for Todd and Fillmore Counties.

In Missouri, tax rates changed for Ralls and Webster Counties, Hazelwood, Jennings, St. Ann, Sparta and Warson Woods.

In North Dakota, tax rates changed for Beulah, Fredonia, Harvey, Hazelton, Lignite, and Velva.

In Nebraska, tax rates changed for Battle Creek and David City.

In New Mexico, tax rates changed for Colfax, Curry, Grant, Harding, Quay, San Juan, San Miguel, Sierra and Valencia Counties, and Vaughn and Lovington.

In Oklahoma, tax rates changed for Comanche, Leflore, Logan, and Mayes Counties, and Bridgeport, Bethel Acres and Glencoe.

In South Dakota, tax rates changed for Veblen.

In Texas, tax rates changed for China Grove and Maypearl.

In Washington, tax rates changed for Benton County, Ephrata, and Monroe.

In Wyoming, tax rates changed for Washakie County.

There were 13 states with ZIP code changes effective after December 2014 including Arkansas, California, DC, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas.

To see rate changes that took effect in December 2014 please visit this article.

Download the full ZIP code change documentation.

For December 2014 changes click here.

Angel Sauer

Sales and use tax changes for October 2014

Sales tax rate changes October 2014

Sales tax rate changes October 2014

Sales and/or use tax changes for 16 states in Zip2Tax products since September 2014. There were changes in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

In Alaska, tax rates changed for Sitka, Skagway and Whittier.

In Alabama, tax rates changed for Enterprise, Childersburg, Greensboro, Marion, Tuskegee, Jackson, Trafford and Union.

In Arizona, tax rates changed for Flagstaff.

In Arkansas, tax rates changed for Crawfordsville, Ekins, Greers Ferry, Cleveland County, Crawford County and Crittenden County.

In California, tax rates changed for Anderson, Cotati, Davis, Hayward, San Pablo, Truckee and Watsonville.

In Idaho, tax rates changed for Nez Perce County.

In Kansas, tax rates changed for Fairway and Mulvane.

In Minnesota, tax rates changed for Douglas County.

In North Carolina, tax rates changed for Davidson County.

In North Dakota, tax rates changed for Burleigh County, Leeds, Morton County, Watford City and West Fargo.

In Nebraska, tax rates changed for Fairfield, Hickman, Atkinson and La Vista.

In Nevada, tax rates changed for Carson City.

In Oklahoma, tax rates changed for the counties of Greer, Latimer, Marshall, Washita and Logan and the cities of Kiowa, Kaw City and Chouteau.

In Ohio, tax rates changed for Erie County.

In Texas, tax rates changed for Tatum, Aubrey, Annetta, Fayetteville, Lakeport, Rogers, Shavano Park, Terrell Hills, Lucas and Tuscola.

In Washington, tax rates changed for Marysville TBA.

There were 12 states with ZIP code changes effective after September 2014 including Alabama, California, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas.

Download the full ZIP code change documentation.

For September’s changes click here.

Angel Sauer

Angel Sauer, sales tax research team leader

« Older Entries Recent Entries »