Is food taxable in Pennsylvania?

by TaxJar November 24, 2023

Please note: This blog was originally published in 2021. It’s since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

In the US each state makes their own rules and laws about what products are subject to sales tax. This can get tricky with products like food, which are often considered “necessities” when bought at the grocery store, but not so much when bought at restaurants.

Thankfully, Pennsylvania is one of the simpler states when it comes to taxing food. Find out what sellers of groceries or hot meals need to know about selling food in the Keystone State.

Are groceries taxable in Pennsylvania?

Grocery items are generally tax exempt in Pennsylvania. Further, many states tax candy, but not Pennsylvania. The home state of the Hershey Company does not consider candy and gum taxable.

Are meals taxable in Pennsylvania?

Meals and prepared foods are generally taxable in Pennsylvania.  This includes food sold by an establishment selling “ready-to-eat food for consumption on or off the premises, on a take-out or to-go basis, or delivered to the purchaser or consumer.”

Are beverages taxable in Pennsylvania?

Coffee or coffee substitutes, tea, water, cocoa, and milk or noncarbonated drinks made from milk derivatives are non-taxable in Pennsylvania.

Soft drinks and fruit drinks with less than 25% natural fruit juice are taxable.

How to always collect the correct amount of sales tax in Pennsylvania

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

TaxJar is here to 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. Or, like Illinois, they are taxable at a reduced rate. 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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