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TOPIC: Court ruling on popcorn sales tax

Court ruling on popcorn sales tax 09 Dec 2004 20:10 #26738

  • BurneyFalls
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My accountant showed me a synopsis of a recent court ruling on sales tax for popcorn. I am not sure if this is just a California ruling or not and will get the article from him next time I go in. The ruling states that popcorn sales cannot be taxed if it is popped on premises in a suspended kettle with a warmer on the bottom that is used to dehumidify the popcorn. He told me to track popcorn sales and they will be deducted from all other concession sales for tax purposes from now on. YEA!
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Re: Court ruling on popcorn sales tax 09 Dec 2004 21:13 #26739

  • muviebuf
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Sales tax is a state-by-state thing so I would assume the ruling is for California.

Here in Pennsylvania where I am located sales tax depends on the kind of item (necessities are not taxable but everything else generally is). Popcorn and soda are taxable at all times. Coffee, tea and water are not taxable (they fall under the category of "necessities"). Juice and drinks like Gattoraide depend on the amount of juice content - 10% or less juice then it is taxable; more than 10% juice content ("real juice") then it is not taxable and becomes a "necessity". Candy here used to be taxable but in 1999 the powerful Hershey candy company lobby convinced the state legislature it was too much trouble to have vending machine companies remit sales tax on candy (yet the same vending companies still have to remit sales tax on soda!) and Hershey got all candy exempted from the sales tax (it is not a necessity but its own exempt category).

Because Pennsylvania is such a mish-mash of what is and what is not subject to sales tax, the regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue specifically require that all sales receipts seperately enumerate the taxable and non taxable items and then add the sales tax charged on the taxable items as a seperate line item at the end of the receipt. These regulations specifically prohibit advertising or posting (or collecting) any prices such as "2.50 sales tax included".

Since Pennsylvania is 6% sales tax it means I have to have a lot of pennies for change.
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Re: Court ruling on popcorn sales tax 09 Dec 2004 21:19 #26740

  • outaframe
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I'd bet this will be a ruling applying ONLY to your state (California), and is probably the result of lots of lobbying (and probably lots of financial support) by your State Theater Owners Association and other concessionaires who will reap the benefits... Sales taxes are a crazy quilt that has different rates and rules that change every time you cross a state line, and sometimes even a city limit or county line...
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