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Is food taxable in South Carolina?

by Sarah Craig February 8, 2024

Please note: This blog was originally published in 2020. It’s since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Food is a tricky category when it comes to sales tax, and states approach it in a variety of different ways. One of the things that makes it challenging is that it’s typically not viewed as a single category at all, but treated differently depending on whether it’s been prepared or packaged, for instance. We’ll walk you through when – and when not to – charge sales tax when selling food and beverages in South Carolina.

Are groceries taxable in South Carolina?

Grocery items are exempt from state sales tax but could be still subject to local sales tax

Are meals taxable in South Carolina?

While some food is tax exempt in South Carolina, foods that are taxable include:

  • Hot foods ready to eat
  • Foods designed to be heated in the store
  • Hot and cold food to be eaten at a lunch counter, in a dining area or anywhere else in the store or in a nearby area such as a mall food court or that are considered “prepared meals or food”

Are beverages taxable in South Carolina?

Beverages are considered grocery items in South Carolina and are exempt from sales tax. 

How to always collect the correct amount of sales tax in South Carolina

Do you sell groceries, meals or beverages? Are you required to collect sales tax in South Carolina? Then this may sound like a huge headache. 

That’s where TaxJar can help. 

With the TaxJar API, you can be sure you’re collecting the right amount of sales tax on every transaction. Our product tax codes ensure you do collect sales tax on that soft drink but don’t collect sales tax on that plain coffee drink. 

Not to mention, most e-commerce businesses have nexus in multiple states. For example, groceries are taxable in some states, but non-taxable in others. With TaxJar, you’ll collect the right amount of sales tax from every customer, in every state, every time.

Further food and meal taxability resources:

Ready to automate sales tax collection, reporting and filing? Click here for more on how TaxJar can take the headache out of sales tax in your food & beverage business.

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