Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia exempt grocery foods from sales tax. Three states specify that foods purchased for consumption “at home” are exempt — Louisiana, Maine, and Wyoming. Maryland and Ohio specify that food purchased for “off-site” consumption is exempt from sales tax. Rhode Island, which recently announced an upcoming sales tax amnesty program and subject of Mike Fleming’s article, Rhode Island Red: Should You Cross the Road for this Amnesty?, does not tax the sale of any grocery foods.
Several states that tax grocery foods do so at a reduced rate, such as Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia. West Virginia had an additional reduction since June 30, 2012, and a conditional termination on the tax on July 1, 2013.
We Have a Chart for That
We have developed a helpful chart that highlights the states’ treatment of sales on grocery foods for your reference. Your situation may very likely involve some particular facts and circumstances that would yield a different result. This chart is a good starting point, but should not be your only research source. Download the chart!