Taxes tricky for Halloween treats, TaxWatch says


It’s that time of year to be frightened – not by ghosts or goblins, but by Florida’s tax rules on candy.

Every year, Florida TaxWatch, the nonpartisan government watchdog, uses Halloween to demonstrate the state’s boggling rules on what gets taxed and what doesn’t.

“Groceries are generally exempt from Florida sales tax, but candy can get confusing,” it says.

Most candy is subject to sales tax, as are items “similar to candy,” such as “candy apples, breath mints, chewing gum (except those containing aspirin, laxatives, or antacids), cotton candy, fruit-flavored sticks, jellybeans, licorice, and lollipops.”

Moreover, “chocolate and glazed or sugar-coated fruit is taxable, but chocolate chips and glazed fruit are exempt when they’re advertised or normally sold for use in cooking or baking.”

Want to get more confused? Marshmallow candy is taxable, but marshmallows are exempt, the group says.

“Ice cream and frozen yogurt is exempt if sold in containers larger than one pint, but taxable if sold in pints (sorry, Ben & Jerry) or smaller sizes,” it says.

“Popsicles, fudgsicles, frozen fruit bars, and other frozen novelties are taxable,” but not “cookies (even if chocolate-coated), nutrition bars, cracker jacks, fruit rollups, chips, cheese puffs, granola and cereal bars, nuts, and pretzels.”

And “all these treats can be covered in chocolate, candy, honey, or yogurt and remain tax-free.”

For more wacky tax stories, head to the TaxWatch website here.

Staff Reports


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