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1% TAX ISN'T LIKELY TO BITE INTO HOT DOGS SOLD AT STORES

That hot dog at the 7-Eleven likely won't be costing you more.

The Utah attorney general's office, in an informal opinion, has ruled that supermarkets and convenience stores that sell prepared foods are subject to a 1 percent restaurant tax only if the prepared foods are the primary business of the store.The ruling states that supermarkets and convenience stores are likely not restaurants under the definition of the law. But drive-up windows at fast-food outlets probably are.

The 1991 Legislature passed a sales tax increase that called for an additional 1 percent tax on restaurants, the additional money going to promote tourism and conventions.

Utah County Attorney Carlyle K. Bryson had requested an attorney general's opinion on whether or not the county can charge a 1 percent sales tax on prepared foods and beverages sold at grocery stores, convenience stores and fast-food drive-up windows.

"It is our opinion that the sales of foods and beverages prepared for immediate consumption by grocery stores and convenience stores are subject to the tax only if the retail establishment's primary business is the sale of prepared foods and beverages, or if the sale of prepared foods and beverages constitutes a separate retail establishment," wrote Assistant Attorney General Mark E. Wainwright.

Sales at drive-up windows at fast-food outlets are subject to the tax, the opinion states.