February 13, 2015

New Report: Taxes on Soft Drinks and Candy

Four states levy an excise tax on soft drinks, but no state levies one on candy, according to a recent OLR report.  The four states—Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia—allocate some or all of the revenue to a specific purpose: litter programs in Tennessee and Virginia and Medicaid and university programs in Arkansas and West Virginia, respectively.

While most states do not impose excise taxes on soft drinks or candy, many impose sales taxes on these items, but tax them at higher rates than other grocery food. Of the 46 jurisdictions (45 states and the District of Columbia) that impose a sales tax, 23 tax soft drinks and 18 tax candy at higher rates than groceries.

The report also identifies states that recently considered bills taxing soft drinks and candy and describes federal legislation proposed in 2014 to tax soft drinks.