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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

taxes

Grocery and Convenience Stores

Grocery stores and convenience stores not only sell food products, they also sell a wide variety of other items and services – some of them taxable, and others nontaxable. For example, flour, sugar, bread, milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables and similar groceries (food products) are not subject to Texas sales and use tax. Tax is due, however, on non-food items such as paper, pet, beauty and hygiene products; clothing; books; and certain edible items.

Food and Beverages

Bakery Items – Taxable and Nontaxable

Bakery items sold by a business that qualifies as a bakery are not taxable. A bakery is a retail location where more than 50 percent of sales consist of bakery items sold from a display case or counter and consumed off the premises.

Bakery items sold by a business that does not qualify as a bakery are taxable when sold with eating utensils (plates, knives, forks, spoons) or when heated.

Bakery items include

  • bagels
  • bread
  • cakes
  • cookies
  • croissants
  • cupcakes
  • Danish pastries
  • doughnuts
  • kolaches (those with meat are bakery items only when the dough is cooked around the meat)
  • muffins
  • pies
  • scones
  • strudels
  • tortillas

Baking Products – Nontaxable

Baking products are not taxable, including

  • baking chips
  • baking mixes
  • cake sprinkles
  • edible decorations
  • icing

Beer and Wine – Taxable

Beer and wine are taxable.

Beverages and Water – Taxable and Nontaxable

Soft drinks are taxable and include

  • carbonated and non-carbonated, non-alcoholic beverages that contain natural or artificial sweeteners
  • canned, bottled, frozen or powdered drinks and drink mixes
  • all “-ades” and punches containing less than 50 percent vegetable or fruit juice by volume
  • flavored water
  • sports drinks

Energy drinks, sports drinks and naturally or artificially sweetened electrolyte drinks are taxable as soft drinks, except when they

  • are labeled (or required to be labeled) with a “Supplement Facts” panel by the Food and Drug Administration;
  • contain milk, milk products, milk substitutes (almond, soy, rice, etc.); or
  • contain more than 50 percent vegetable or fruit juice by volume.

Nontaxable beverages are

  • beverages that contain milk; milk products; milk substitutes (almond, soy, rice, etc.); or juice with more than 50 percent vegetable or fruit juice by volume
  • water, including unflavored water, mineral water; spring water and sparkling water.

Candy and Gum –Taxable

Candy and gum are taxable. These include

  • bars, drops, taffy and other confections made of natural or artificial sweeteners
  • nuts and fruits that have been candied, crystalized, glazed or coated with chocolate, yogurt or caramel
  • nuts roasted with a sweetener

Coffee and Tea – Taxable and Nontaxable

Coffee and tea are taxable when they are

  • bottled or canned and contain natural or artificial sweeteners; or
  • sold in a heated state or in a cup or glass or with a straw.

Nontaxable coffee and tea include

  • bottled or canned coffee and tea (when not sweetened)
  • coffee beans and ground coffee
  • coffee/tea pods
  • instant coffee/tea
  • tea bags and loose tea

Food Products – Nontaxable

Food products are not taxable. Food products include flour, sugar, bread, milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables and similar groceries.

Nontaxable food products also include food that is

  • typically reheated before eating; or
  • only cut up, repackaged or pasteurized such as fruit, vegetable or cheese trays.

If a store has a microwave that the customer uses to reheat food, tax is not due. For example, if the store sells a frozen burrito, and the customer uses the store’s microwave to heat it, tax is not due.

Ice and dry ice – Taxable

Ice and dry ice are taxable.

Prepared food – Taxable

Prepared food is taxable. This includes

  • hot food*
  • hot drinks such as cocoa, coffee or tea
  • cold drinks sold with meals or with eating utensils**
  • any food sold with eating utensils**
  • sandwiches (unless sold frozen or partially frozen and require thawing or heating by the customer before eating)
  • other food or drinks that can be eaten immediately without further preparation by the purchaser and sold by a restaurant lunch counter, deli or other similar location within the grocery or convenience store
  • food or drinks sold from a vending machine
  • food created at a store by combining two or more food ingredients sold as one item (salad, salsa, pesto and hummus)

*Hot food is food sold after it is heated by the seller. Examples are pizza, fried or rotisserie chicken, burritos and soup. Hot food also includes frozen or cold food (including sandwiches) that is heated by the seller. For example, if a store employee heats a frozen burrito for the customer, tax is due.

**Eating utensils include trays, plates, knives, forks, spoons, glasses, cups, straws or chopsticks. Napkins, wax paper and foam or plastic clamshells are not eating utensils.

If a store, other than a bakery, gives the customer plates or other eating utensils with bakery items, or heats bakery items, the bakery items are taxable.

Snack Items – Taxable and Nontaxable

Snack items are taxable when sold in an individual-sized portion or from a vending machine. An individual-sized portion contains less than 2.5 ounces or is labeled as having not more than one serving. Snack items that are not individual-sized are not taxable, unless sold as a part of a meal.

Snack items include

  • breakfast bars, granola bars, nutrition bars, sports bars, protein bars and yogurt bars (unless labeled and marketed as candy)
  • chips, crackers, hard pretzels, pork rinds and corn nuts
  • ice cream, sherbet and frozen yogurt
  • ice pops, juice pops, sorbet and other frozen fruit items containing less than 50 percent fruit juice by volume
  • nuts (not pine nuts or candy-coated nuts)
  • popcorn
  • snack mix and trail mix
  • sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

Snack items are not taxable when sold in prepackaged units containing more than one individual-sized package, such as a box of six prepackaged, individual-sized bags of chips.

Drugs and Supplements

Drugs, Medicines and Dietary Supplements – Nontaxable

Over-the-counter drugs and medicines required by the Food and Drug Administration to be labeled with a Drug Facts panel are not taxable. For more information, see Publication 94-155, Sales Tax Exemptions for Healthcare Items.

Dietary supplements are not taxable. A dietary supplement is a product that is labeled with a “Supplement Facts” panel in accordance with regulations of the FDA. If a product is not labeled with a “Supplement Facts” panel, it is also considered a dietary supplement if it

  • contains one or more vitamins, minerals, herbs or botanicals, amino acids, or substances that supplement the daily dietary intake;
  • is not represented as food or the sole item of a meal or the diet; and
  • is labeled “dietary supplement” or “supplement.”

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are not classified as dietary or nutritional supplements. CBD or products containing CBD are not eligible for the dietary and nutritional supplement exemption from sales and use tax. These products should not be labeled as supplements. This exclusion reflects FDA guidance.

Non-Food Items

Books, Comics and Magazines – Taxable

Books, comics and magazines are taxable.

Cigarettes, Cigars and Tobacco Products – Taxable

Sales tax is due on cigarettes, cigars and all other tobacco products. See the Tobacco Taxes and Fees webpage for more information.

Newspapers – Nontaxable

Nontaxable newspapers must

  • be printed on newsprint;
  • be distributed periodically every four weeks or less;
  • be sold for an average price of $3.00 or less per day over a 30-day period; and
  • provide general interest news and advertisements.

Prepaid Wireless Telecommunications Service Cards – Taxable

Sales of prepaid wireless telecommunications service cards and devices are subject to both sales tax and to the 2 percent 9-1-1 Prepaid Wireless Emergency Service Fee.

Telephone Calling Cards – Taxable

Telephone calling cards are taxable.

Discounts, Coupons, Gift Certificates and Rebates

Discounts

A cash discount is an offer to customers that reduces an item’s price. Tax is due on the final discounted price of a taxable item. For example, a store offers customers a 10 percent discount on all purchases paid with cash. If a customer buys a taxable item priced at $25, the discounted price is $22.50 after the 10 percent discount of $2.50 is deducted. Tax is due on the final discounted price of $22.50.

Coupons

A coupon is a cash discount. The store must subtract the coupon’s value from the taxable item’s sales price and collect tax on the resulting price.

Gift Cards and Gift Certificates

The purchase of a gift card or gift certificate is not subject to tax. Redeeming or purchasing an item with a gift card or gift certificate is treated as a cash transaction. If the item purchased is taxable, sales tax is due on the full sales price including any amount paid with the gift card.

Rebates

There are two main types of rebates: manufacturer rebates and retailer rebates.

A mail-in manufacturer rebate does not lower the price because a third-party manufacturer provides the rebate after the sale.

For example, a $250 toaster oven comes with a $50 manufacturer mail-in rebate offer. A customer buys it for $250 and mails in the required information to receive the manufacturer’s $50 rebate. The store must collect tax on the $250 toaster oven price.

An instant manufacturer rebate the store deducts at checkout is treated as a cash discount.

For example, if a $250 toaster oven has a $50 instant rebate, tax is due on the final price of $200.

A mail-in retailer rebate issued by the retailer reduces the taxable sales price of the item when the rebate is processed and the refund is issued. In this case, the customer must pay tax on the item’s original price. When the store processes the rebate request, the store must give the customer the rebate and refund the tax collected on the rebate amount.

For example, a customer buys a television for $250 with a $25 mail-in retailer rebate. The tax is based on the $250 price. When the store rebates the $25, the store must also refund the tax paid on the $25 rebate amount.

SNAP Benefits

Taxable items purchased in a grocery or convenience store are exempt when legally purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. For more information about SNAP benefits, contact Texas Health and Human Services.

Taxable Services

These services are taxable:

  • photo or film processing services, including
    • enlargements
    • negatives
    • pictures-on-disk
    • prints
    • processing at self-use kiosks
    • retouching
    • slides
  • rentals, including
    • electronic equipment
    • floor and other cleaning equipment
    • movies
Taxable Items – Examples
  • adhesive tape
  • alarm clocks
  • ale
  • aluminum foil
  • ammonia
  • ammunition
  • appliances
  • automotive items (oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, etc.)
  • baby care products (oil, lotion, powder, etc.)*
  • baby clothing
  • bags
  • baskets
  • batteries
  • beauty supplies
  • beer
  • birdseed (except wild birdseed)
  • bleach
  • books
  • breath mints
  • brooms
  • brushes
  • bubble bath
  • calendars
  • cameras
  • cannabidiol (CBD) products**
  • candles
  • candy
  • canning supplies
  • carbonated beverages
  • cards
  • charcoal briquettes
  • charcoal lighter fluid
  • cigarettes
  • cigarette lighters
  • cleaners
  • clothespins
  • clothing
  • coffee pots
  • coffee (canned or bottled that contain natural or artificial sweeteners)
  • cologne
  • contact lens care items**
  • cosmetics
  • costumes
  • cotton balls
  • cough drops*
  • dental floss
  • detergent
  • deodorant (not including antiperspirant)
  • deodorizers
  • diapers
  • diluted juices (50 percent or less fruit juice)
  • dishcloths and towels
  • dishes
  • disinfectant
  • distilled spirits
  • drinks (soft drinks – canned, bottled, frozen or powdered, including all “-ades” and punches)
  • dye
  • eating utensils
  • electrical supplies
  • electronic equipment
  • eyeglasses**
  • fabric softeners
  • fertilizer
  • fishing tackle
  • firearms
  • flashlights
  • floor wax
  • flower seeds
  • flowers
  • flyswatters
  • freezer paper and tape
  • furniture
  • fuses
  • garbage bags
  • garden supplies
  • gift wrap
  • glassware
  • gum
  • hair care products (shampoo, spray, conditioner, etc.) *
  • hair coloring
  • hairpins and accessories
  • hammers
  • hardware
  • holiday trees and decorations
  • housewares
  • ice
  • ice chests
  • ice cream salt
  • ice cream sundries (when sold in an individual-sized portion)
  • insecticides
  • irons
  • jars
  • jewelry
  • keys
  • kitchenware
  • laundry detergent and additives
  • lawn chairs
  • light bulbs
  • liquor
  • lotions*
  • lubricants
  • lye
  • matches
  • magazines
  • mops, mop handles and mop heads
  • mothballs and spray
  • motor oil
  • mousetraps
  • movies
  • music
  • nails
  • notebooks
  • nuts (candy-coated)
  • nursery stock (except annual vegetable plants)
  • paper items (all)
  • paraffin
  • peat moss
  • pencils and pens
  • perfume
  • pet food
  • pet supplies
  • photo processing
  • pictures and frames
  • pipes
  • plastic items
  • poisons
  • polish
  • popsicles
  • popcorn (when candy-coated or sold hot in the store)
  • pots and pans
  • powder (face, body and cleaning)
  • prophylactics
  • razors and blades
  • rental items
  • ribbons
  • sandwiches (that are not frozen)
  • sandwich bags
  • school supplies
  • scouring pads
  • shaving cream and lotion
  • shampoo and conditioner *
  • shoelaces
  • silverware
  • snack items (individual-sized)
  • snuff
  • socks
  • soap and detergent
  • soft drinks (carbonated and non-carbonated)
  • sponges
  • sports equipment
  • sprays
  • starch
  • stationery and cards
  • sunglasses
  • tape (packaging)
  • tea (canned or bottled that contain natural or artificial sweeteners)
  • thread and sewing accessories
  • toilet tissue
  • tools
  • toothbrushes
  • toothpaste (non-fluoride)*
  • toothpicks
  • toys
  • tobacco products
  • towels
  • watches and clocks
  • water (when flavored)
  • water softeners
  • water softener salt
  • wax removers
  • whisk brooms
  • wine
  • wire

* Unless required by the FDA to be labeled with a Drug Facts panel or sold to a customer with a prescription

**Unless sold to a customer with a prescription

Nontaxable Items – Examples

Baby Products

  • baby food – canned, packaged, etc.
  • milk – canned, dry, etc.
  • formula
  • medicated products

Bakery Items – (nontaxable when sold at a grocery and convenience stores without eating utensils or heated)

  • bagels
  • biscuits
  • bread
  • cakes
  • cookies
  • croissants
  • cupcakes
  • Danish pastries
  • dinner rolls
  • doughnuts
  • fruit kolaches
  • muffins
  • pies
  • pizza crusts
  • scones
  • soft pretzels
  • strudels
  • tortillas

Baking Supplies

  • almond paste, marzipan
  • baking chocolate (blocks and chips)
  • cake mixes
  • canned fillings
  • cookie mixes
  • cooking oils, shortening and lard
  • cornmeal
  • dried fruits
  • edible cake decorations (sprinkles, confetti, etc.)
  • flour
  • food coloring (liquid, gel and powdered)
  • icing and icing mixes
  • leavening agents (baking powder, baking soda, yeast)
  • marshmallows
  • molasses
  • muffin mixes
  • nuts (not candy-coated)
  • seasonings (salt, pepper, herbs, spices, etc.)
  • spices
  • sugar
  • sugar substitutes
  • syrups

Condiments and Spices

  • catsup
  • herbs
  • mayonnaise
  • mustard
  • pickle relish
  • pickles
  • salad dressings (mixes or bottled)
  • salsas (canned and fresh)
  • sauces and liquid seasonings (fresh, canned and bottled)
  • spices
  • vinegar

Dairy Products

  • butter and margarine
  • cheese and cheese foods, including cottage cheese and cream cheese
  • cream (whipping, half and half, heavy, etc.)
  • creamers
  • lactose-reduced milks and dairy products
  • milk and milk substitutes (canned and dry)
  • sour cream
  • yogurt

Beverages

  • coffee (beans, ground and instant)
  • coffee flavorings (powdered and liquid)
  • fruit and vegetable juices (more than 50 percent fruit or vegetable juice, canned, bottled or frozen)
  • tea (instant, bags, loose, including herbal teas)
  • water (carbonated or non-carbonated, non-flavored)

Eggs and Egg Substitutes

  • egg substitutes (fresh and frozen)
  • fresh eggs

Grains and Pasta

  • beans
  • cereals
  • granola (bulk and packaged)
  • pastas (fresh, canned and dried)
  • pasta mixes
  • rice
  • spaghetti

Meat, Poultry and Fish

  • canned meats
  • dried meats
  • deli meats
  • fresh and frozen beef, poultry, pork and fish
  • lunch meats
  • meat substitutes
  • sausages

Nutritional Supplements (product must meet the definition of a dietary supplement)

  • herbal products
  • mineral products
  • vitamins

Over-the-Counter Drugs and Medicines (when required by the FDA to be labeled with a Drug Facts panel)

  • acne treatment products
  • allergy treatment products
  • analgesics
  • antacids
  • antibacterial personal care items (hand sanitizer, wipes, soap)
  • antibiotic topical ointment
  • anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea products
  • anti-fungal products
  • antihistamines
  • antiperspirants
  • antiseptic sprays, creams and lozenges
  • cold remedies
  • cough suppressants
  • dandruff products
  • expectorants
  • head lice treatments
  • hemorrhoid treatments
  • insect bite treatments
  • laxatives
  • nicotine gum or patches and smoking cessation aids
  • pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen)
  • sedatives and sleep aids
  • sunscreen
  • toothache treatments

Produce

  • canned fruits and vegetables
  • dried fruits and vegetables
  • fresh fruits and vegetables (bulk, wrapped or packaged)
  • frozen fruits and vegetables

Other Categories

  • frozen meals
  • packaged mixes for beef, fish, pork and poultry
  • packaged mixes for vegetables, beans and rice
  • sauces (pasta, tomatoes, garlic)
  • soups (canned, dry mix or frozen)

Snacks (unless sold in an individual-sized portion)

  • breakfast bars
  • chips
  • corn nuts
  • crackers
  • frozen yogurt
  • granola bars
  • ice cream
  • ice pops, juice pops, sorbet and other frozen fruit items containing less than 50 percent fruit juice by volume
  • ice cream sundries (ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches, etc.)
  • nuts (not pine nuts or candy-coated)
  • popcorn
  • pork rinds
  • pretzels
  • protein, nutrition or sports bars (unless labeled and marketed as candy)
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sherbet
  • snack mix
  • sunflower seeds
  • trail mix
  • yogurt bars

Wound Care Items

  • adhesive bandages (including strip adhesive bandages, large adhesive bandages and butterfly closures)
  • corn cushions
  • gauze rolls and pads
  • liquid bandage products
  • medical tape

Additional Resources

96-280
(09/2020)

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