The State Dating Game – Wacky Tax Wednesday
- Sales and Use Tax
- July 22, 2015 | Gail Cole
I haven’t been interested in dating since meeting my husband, but I do hear from friends about dating services, speed dating, and more recently, online dating. It seems there are websites for every type of single: straight, gay, bi, bears, uber-fit, plus-size, young, old, and swingers. Apparently now there are even “location-based social discovery” apps and websites for cheaters (the kind of site you really hope doesn’t get hacked).
I’m told it is possible to know “maybe” and “no” from a session of speed dating, and I know people who have found true love online. It must be possible to learn just enough about a person from the information provided. A tantalizing amount, as it were.
This makes me wonder, “Just what can you tell about a state from its sales tax policies?”
The arts lover
For those who like a state with a bit of culture
- Arkansas, Georgia, and several other states: School art supplies are exempt during back-to-school sales tax holidays.
- Idaho: A sales tax exemption for admissions to and purchases by museums was recently established.
- Rhode Island: Winner of “Most Art Loving.” It instituted a statewide exemption for the arts on December 1, 2013.
- Maryland: Local admissions and amusement tax rates vary widely, from 0.5% to 10%, as does the application of the tax.
- New York State: It provides a sales tax exemption for nonprofit museums but sales tax generally applies to museum admission charges in New York. Admissions to live dramatic, choreographic, or musical arts performances are exempt from sales tax but variety shows, carnivals and rodeos are taxable.
- Ohio: Local governments may levy an admissions tax, therefore taxes vary by community. Sales tax does not apply.
- North Carolina: Expanded sales tax to admissions to museums, guided museum tours, and other cultural sites and events.
- Oklahoma: Sales tax applies to gross receipts derived from sales of tickets to places of amusement and entertainment.
- The European Union: Most countries apply fairly high rates of value added tax to admissions to cultural services, such as the cinema, shows and theatre.
The avid hunter
For lovers of the outdoors (and meat)
- Idaho: To promote an already healthy hunting industry, tangible personal property directly involved in hunting or fishing operations are exempt from sales tax.
- Wisconsin: Sales of farm-raised deer are exempt, effective January 1, 2016. Prior to the start of the New Year, farm-raised deer sold to hunting or shooting preserves are generally taxable.
- Nebraska: Some guide services are taxable and some are exempt. The charge to access hunting lands is a taxable admission.
- South Dakota: Sales tax applies to numerous fishing and hunting services, such as guide service and the sale of access to private hunting or fishing areas.
The gun enthusiast
For those who like a state that likes guns
- Louisiana and Mississippi: Firearms and ammunition are exempt from sales tax during their 2nd Amendment sales tax holidays.
- Florida: Admissions charges and membership fees for gun club will be exempt from sales tax effective July 1, 2015 (HB 33-A).
- Alabama and Texas: Sales tax holidays for firearms and ammunition have been proposed and favorably considered.
- Washington: A handful of lawmakers would like to create “a sales tax exemption for firearms and firearm ammunition to encourage the purchase within the borders of Washington State.”
- Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington: These states tax the sale of guns but exempt gun safety devices. Michigan is considering doing the same.
- Missouri: A sales tax on handguns and ammunition is being considered to raise revenue for police body cameras. (house bill 75)
- Seattle: The City Council is considering a gun violence tax on sellers of ammunition and firearms.
The snazzy dresser
For those who want a state with fashion sense
- Minnesota: The vast majority of clothing is exempt but pet clothing is subject to sales tax. Gotta love that.
- New Jersey: Most clothing is exempt from sales tax, and charges to delivery, embroider, and launder clothing are also exempt.
- Vermont: Clothing is exempt from sales tax.
- Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia: Most articles of clothing are exempt from sales tax during annual sales tax holidays.
- Pennsylvania: Clothing is generally exempt from sales tax, but evening and formal wear and ornamental wear (bridal apparel, opera capes, silk hats, tuxedos, etc.) are subject to sales tax.
- Georgia: Upon further consideration, Georgia is a no. Girdles are specifically sales tax exempt during the tax-free period. I don’t like what that implies.
- Massachusetts and Rhode Island: Math skills are required to determine the sales tax due on clothing. No way.
- New York: The application of sales tax to clothing and footwear in New York is super complex. Items costing less than $110 are exempt from state sales tax but local sales tax may apply. No exemption applies to items costing more than $110. Jeesh.
The sports fan
For fans of fans
- Florida: Admissions to the National Football League championship game or Pro Bowl and admissions to any semifinal game or championship game of a national collegiate tournament are exempt from sales tax. Go Dolphins!
- Louisiana: Admissions to the Cajundome, New Orleans Arena, Superdome, and Zephyr Field are sales tax exempt.
- Ohio: An admissions tax is imposed on sporting events but state and local sales taxes do not generally apply.
- Wisconsin: The 0.5% special football stadium tax in Brown County (think Green Bay Packers) will expire in October.
- Chicago: Fans with special seats now pay tax on 100% of the admission price.
- New York: Professional and college sporting events are subject to sales tax.
Not everyone plays The Dating Game, so the information above is a sampling, not a comprehensive list. But maybe it provides just the right amount of information to inform the next step: “Let’s meet for coffee (or guns, or hats).”