Reply To: Should Unhealthy Foods Be Legislated Against?

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This comes from the state of NY dept. of tax and finance website (the jurisdiction that governs the taxable status of items I purchase)…

Also, the following categories of food are taxable:

sandwiches (whether heated or unheated),

carbonated beverages,

candy and confectionery, and

pet foods.

Tax Bulletin ST-103 (TB-ST-103) Printer-Friendly Version (PDF)

Issue Date: April 13, 2011


Most sales of candy and confectionery are subject to sales tax. This bulletin outlines items that are considered candy and confectionery for sales tax purposes, as well as items that are not.

Candy and confectionery

Candy and confectionery includes candy of all types, and similar products that are regarded as candy or confectionery based on their normal use or marketing. Candy and confectionery also generally includes preparations of fruits, nuts, popcorn, or other products in combination with chocolate, sugar, honey, candy, etc. Some examples of candy and confectionery include (note: any brand name product shown in italics is included as an example and is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product):

candy bars;


fruit, nuts, and popcorn covered with caramel, chocolate, honey, sprinkles, or other similar coatings;

honey-roasted nuts;

chewing gum;


maple sugar candy;


peanut brittle;

cotton candy;


dietetic candy; and

candied apples.

Products that are not considered candy and confectionery

Candy and confectionery does not include:

baked goods, including cupcakes, cookies, pretzels, donuts, and pastries, or any similar products such as granola or cereal bars;

baking or cooking ingredients, such as candied fruitcake ingredients, chocolate chips or bars, and marshmallows of any size (other than the candy or chocolate covered marshmallows described above);

maple sugar products, unless labeled candy or confection or advertised as candy; and

Packaging and marketing can determine tax status

In determining whether a product is taxable as candy or confectionery, or exempt as food, a number of factors are considered, including how the product is labeled, packaged, advertised, displayed, and sold. For example, pure maple sugar products are exempt as food unless displayed, labeled, or advertised as candy or confectionery. They are not candy merely because they are molded in the shape of a maple leaf or sold in individual quantities.


Purchases using food stamps

Food stamps* can be used to purchase any food, food product, or nonalcoholic beverage intended for human consumption (eligible items). If a food or beverage item is ordinarily subject to sales tax, the purchase will be nontaxable if the item is purchased with food stamps. Some examples of items that are generally taxable, but not taxable when they are purchased with food stamps are:

bottled water

candy and confections (e.g., candy bars, lollipops, chewing gum, etc.)


fruit drinks containing less than 70% natural fruit juice

fruit plants and seeds

vegetable plants and seeds

sodas (regular and dietetic)

soft drinks (regular and dietetic)