Borough code on tax-free food

Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2008

(Applies Sept. 1-May 31 annually)

* Items eligible for purchase with federal food stamps are exempt from borough sales taxes.

* Food is exempt at non-restaurant locations unless "prepared."

* Prepared foods (subject to tax year-round) are defined as food sold in heated state by seller, or where two or more food ingredients are mixed or combined by seller for sale as a single item.

* "Prepared food" does not include food that is only sliced, cut, repackaged or pasteurized by the seller. Also not included are raw eggs, fish, meat, poultry and foods containing these raw animal foods requiring cooking by the consumer to prevent food-borne illnesses.

* Also exempt from taxation when sold at locations other than restaurants are bakery items, including bread, rolls, buns, biscuits, bagels, croissants, pastries, donuts, Danish, cakes, tortes, pies, muffins, bars, cookies, and tortillas.

* All food items sold by restaurants and restaurant-type sellers are subject to the borough sales tax.

* A restaurant is defined as a seller whose total food sales consists of more than 75 percent prepared foods as defined above.

For more information and examples explaining the 75 percent rule, see the borough's sales tax division Web site at

Hal Spence can be reached at

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