The state of Ohio requires vendors to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide, though there are certain exceptions to this rule, like Ohio food tax. Residents of Ohio pay tax on most of the products they buy, but the state's laws exempt food from this requirement under certain conditions.
Ohio Food Tax
Food items that are purchased with the intention of being used or eaten anywhere other than the place they were bought are not subject to sales tax in Ohio, but any food purchased and eaten in a restaurant is subject to tax.
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This creates the interesting possibility that you might pay a different amount of money for the same order of food depending on whether you ordered it inside or in the drive-thru. If you are curious as to whether you'll be taxed, you can always inquire at the establishment before making a purchase.
What Is the Tax Rate in Ohio?
In addition to the taxes required by the federal government of the United States, residents living in Ohio also have to pay sales taxes on many of the goods and services they shop for.
Unfortunately, because the state's laws allow each county to add their own provisional taxes to the state sales tax of 5.75 percent, there is no standard flat rate for the sales tax you can expect to pay in Ohio. Local sales tax ranges from 0.075 percent to 2.25 percent.
You can, however, consult the sales tax handbook's page for Ohio to learn more about the different tax rates you'll find throughout the state. Another option would be to go to the state's tax department website to find more information about the state's taxation laws.
Is a Cup of Coffee Taxed in Ohio?
In keeping with this peculiarity of Ohio's tax law, a cup of coffee that you order from a takeout window might not be taxed, but a tax would apply to the same cup of coffee if enjoyed at the shop that brewed it. There are a few other caveats and stipulations related to the taxation of consumable items in the state of Ohio.
The state law as seen on the website for the Ohio Department of Taxation, for instance, defines food as substances that are sold for consumption and which are consumed for their nutritiousness or simply their taste. This creates a legal gray area for certain items, like soft drinks or sodas, that are not exempt from tax because Ohio does not define them as food. Also excluded from the list of food items that are not subject to tax in Ohio are alcohol and tobacco products, to which sales tax will always apply.
Tax-Free Items in Ohio
In addition to food, Ohio exempts a handful of other commodities from its sales tax. Two very notable tax-exempt goods in Ohio are prescription medicines and gasoline. Withholding the sales tax requirement on these essential goods goes a long way toward helping Ohio residents save some extra money as they do their shopping.
Ohio shows its citizens even more love in the form of its sales tax holiday. The holiday, which has been covered online by The Columbus Dispatch, offers Ohio shoppers a weekend of tax exemption on items like clothing or school supplies which would be taxed under normal circumstances and is aimed at providing residents a bit of relief and financial assistance in the back-to-school season.
While Ohio is not tax-free, it certainly lends a hand to its citizens. Despite being a state with an above-average tax rate, the plentiful variety of tax-exempt items, both permanent and temporary, help bring down the cost of living to make it a little more manageable.