State Sales Taxes and St. Patrick’s Day: How Much Green Stays in Your Wallet?

If you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this Friday, chances are there’s a party involved.  Purchasing food and drink, or in search of the perfect outfit for the occasion? Read on for an overview of state sales taxes for these items:

Beer and Spirits State Excise Taxes

The Tax Foundation annually maps excise taxes on beer and distilled spirits across all 50 U.S. states. In 2016, Wyoming levied the lowest excise tax on beer ($0.02 per gallon).  For distilled spirits, Wyoming and New Hampshire tied for the lowest rates, which The Tax Foundation explains as a result of both states operating state-controlled liquor stores that “largely rely on ad-valorem markups rather than taxes.”

In terms of the highest rates, Tennessee topped all states in 2016 at $1.29 per gallon of beer. Washington levied $33.54 per gallon of distilled spirits.

Food State Sales Taxes

Stocking up on snacks for your party guests? Your menu could be exempt from state sales taxes.

Earlier this month, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published its 2017 U.S. map of grocery-related sales tax. The majority of states, and the District of Columbia, “exempt most food purchased for consumption at home.” An additional 10 states, meanwhile, either “tax groceries at lower rates than other goods” or “tax groceries fully but offer credits or rebates offsetting some of the taxes paid on food by some portions of the population.” Only three states—Alabama, Mississippi and South Dakota— “apply their sales tax fully to food purchased for home consumption.”

Apparel State Sales Taxes

Finally, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect pop of green to wear, that t-shirt or pair of socks likely is subject to state sales taxes. The Tax Foundation’s 2015 map of state rates on clothing, however, highlights exceptions from coast to coast.

Curious about other tax questions? Get right to the source with CCH® IntelliConnect® and other research and learning solutions from Wolters Kluwer.


Caroline O'Reilly

Content Marketing Manager

All stories by: Caroline O'Reilly

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