Taxing Thanksgiving: A Florida TaxWatch holiday report

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Of the many reasons Floridians can be grateful this Thanksgiving, here’s one: Florida is one of the states in the nation that doesn’t tax groceries.

Florida residents will enjoy most of their Thanksgiving feast tax-exempt, with only a few exceptions.

According to the government watchdogs at Florida TaxWatch, some of the items on dinner tables statewide may be subject to the state’s sales tax, which ranges from six to 7.5 percent.

In Florida, foods prepared in-store are subject to sales tax. Raw turkeys are tax exempt, but cooked turkeys are not.

As with most Florida tax rules, there are some peculiarities.

For example, exempt from taxes are certain deli foods prepared off-site, as long as the seller keeps them in their original sealed containers. Bakery products sold for consumption at in-store dining facilities are not taxed. It goes the same for deli meats and cheeses unless sold in party trays. Fruit and salad platters are exempt unless packaged with utensils.

“Understanding Florida’s tax laws can be tough for Florida shoppers,” said TaxWatch President Dominic Calabro. “So Florida TaxWatch is helping taxpayers understand their tax obligations, and get a better sense of what they are buying this Thanksgiving.”

While most of the Thanksgiving feast is tax-free, one staple at most Thanksgiving celebrations – beer and wine — is always taxed. Not just sales tax, either. Alcoholic beverages have an additional excise tax levied.

Florida ranks eighth in the nation for tax rates on beer and seventh overall for tax rates on wine.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.