Bang for your Buck: The fine line between what is taxed - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Bang for your Buck: The fine line between what is taxed and what is not at the grocery store

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If you've ever wondered why your grocery bill is higher than expected, there may be some specific food items driving up your total cost.

It's a common belief that all food in the grocery store is not taxed, but there are some exceptions and some gray areas that you may not know about.

For example, prepared foods are taxed in Texas. But, if you purchase a cake or some donuts from the bakery, those items are not taxed. 

Generally, prepackaged, single size snacks, like granola bars, or a small bag of chips will be taxed. But, a box of granola bars, or a large bag of chips are not. 

The taxing decision is made by the State.

"Everybody's got to eat. You need to have some really basic food," said Economics Professor Neil Meredith. 

"Generally food is not taxed, but there are some specifics," the Ph.D. WTAMU Professor added. 

Things like sodas, and candy are taxed. 

"It's viewed as more of a convenience item so they will place sales tax on it," he explained.

But it's harder to explain other items, like ice cream desserts.

Ice cream sold in small half pints are taxed. But ice cream sold in a pint or larger are not. 

The reason behind this is based solely on what the government says is taxable and what is not. 

Something Meredith says is always a challenge when it comes to the rules. 

"That's the punch line... the devils in the details," he said. 

For more information on what items are taxed, click on the link below:

http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx96_280.pdf