By now, most retailers in Iowa will have had the chance to attend one of the dozens of meetings the Iowa Department of Revenue has held around the state on changes on the collection of sales tax that will occur on July 1, 2004.
Streamlined Sales Tax was designed and has been enacted by the Iowa Legislature in the 2003 session, under the premise that 1) sales tax would be applied uniformly in those states that enact the SSTP, and 2) that it would enable states to eventually collect sales tax on internet purchases. The effect on the food industry is with the SSTP definitions and how they have changed from current law.
The Iowa Department of Revenue will continue to maintain a database noting which items are taxable and which are exempt, very similar to the one that was started in 1998, after industry confusion on which items should be taxed.
Here are changes worth noting for Iowa retailers:
SSTP Definition of Candy:
Candy means a preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts or other ingredients or flavorings in the form of bars, drops, or pieces. Candy does not include any preparations containing flour which require no refrigeration.
The big change will be in the make up of candy with flour. Any item that previously fell under the definition of candy under Iowa law definitions, but contains flour (of any amount) will be exempt from sales tax. For example, Kit Kat bars, Milky Way bars, M&M Crispy (blue packages), Reece’s sticks will be exempt from tax because they contain flour. Currently they are taxed. Brach’s Bridge Mix will be exempt (has flour), but Brach’s Chocolate Stars will be taxable. It does not matter how much flour, or if it is rice, wheat, or another variety of flour. If it contains flour, it is not taxed.
Bottled Water- Whether it is carbonated or not, bottled water will be exempt from tax. If it is sweetened, it will be taxable (either carbonated or non-carbonated). A key for retailers to consider is if the water has "beverage" listed on its label. That usually means a sweetener has been added, making it taxable. Most all of the following bottled, drinking or purified water brands will be exempt:
Deja Blue, Crystal Clear, Poland Springs, Hinkley Springs, Hiland, Aquafina, Sasani, Chippewa, Evian, Ice Mountain Springs, Humboldt Springs, Fiji, and other store brands. This list is for example, and is not an inclusive list. Please check your bottled water SKU’s, and make adjustments.
No changes have been indicated in the food service/ deli area concerning sales tax status. IGIA was successful when the SST was passed in 2003 in getting exceptions for exemptions, which kept the sales tax applicability the same as it is presently.
This is a sample list taken from a large supermarket in the Des Moines area. Each retailer will be different, either in number of SKU’s, or products stocked or available.
The best way to use this list is as an example, and areas you will need to look at in each store.
If you have questions, or additional items you would like us to add to this list, or a ruling that needs to be requested of the Iowa Department of Revenue, email firstname.lastname@example.org