Candy? Or Not? Check the list.
Washington State Candy Tax Update:
The candy sales tax goes into effect June 1, and officials at the Washington State Department of Revenue have been working to compile a list. All the candy, and all the candy like substances that are not candy.
Here’s the definition Washington State is using, with that funny flour exemption:
What is candy?
Candy is a preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners combined with chocolate, fruits, nuts, or other ingredients or flavorings and formed into bars, drops, or pieces. Candy does not require refrigeration. Candy does not include any preparation containing flour.
Flour is made from grain such as wheat, rice, corn, rye, oats, and barley. Flour does not include flour substitutes, such as starch. Any product that lists flour as an ingredient on the nutritional facts label is not taxable as candy.
You can read more about the definition and its irrational craziness in my post Defining Candy: The Candy Tax.
But if you’d like to check to see whether your favorite candy is actually candy, or some tax-free candy like substance, check out the spreadsheet at: http://www.dor.wa.gov/Content/FindALawOrRule/NewLegislation/Important.aspx click on “June 1 Candy and gum sales tax exemption repealed” then go to “List of candy products and products similar to candy.” In a particularly helpful gesture, the News Tribune (Tacoma) has created a nifty little search box so you can input your favorite treats and find out where they fall along the candy/no candy line.
So far, the list includes something like 3,500 different candies in the state, and they had to check the ingredients of each and every one. More to come, though: the Revenue office just received a new distributor’s list of Asian candies sold in the state. 11,000 kinds.
We knew about a few of the clinkers: Kit Kats, Twix, M&M Pretzel, and licorice will not henceforth be known as candy in Washington State. But Milky Way bars? Never saw it coming.
The flour exemption was meant to carve out an exception for cookies. So now when you buy a 100 Grand Bar or a Look Bars, hey, it’ s not a candy bar at all!
For a great story about the man behind the candy list, Patrick Gillespie, see Nicole Brodeur, “Candy Man’s job can be taxing” in the Seattle Times.