Sales Tax and St. Patrick’s Day: How Much Green Stays in Your Wallet?

If you’re throwing a St. Patrick’s Day bash this Friday (or carrying on the party through the weekend), these items are sure to make an appearance: refreshments (of both the potable and comestible varieties) and green-hued apparel. If you’re purchasing food and drink, or in search of the party-perfect outfit, you may be curious as to how these items are taxed:

Beer and Spirits

For past few years, The Tax Foundation annually has mapped excise taxes on beer and distilled spirits across all 50 U.S. states. In 2016, Wyoming levied the lowest excise tax on beer ($0.02 per gallon).  For distilled spirits, Wyoming and New Hampshire tied for the lowest excise taxes, which The Tax Foundation explains as a result of both states operating state-controlled liquor stores that “largely rely on ad-valorem markups rather than taxes.”

At the other end of the excise-tax spectrum, Tennessee topped all states with a rate of $1.29 per gallon of beer, while Washington levied $33.54 per gallon of distilled spirits.


Headed to the grocery store to stock up on snacks? Depending on the state you’re in, most of your menu could be exempt from sales tax.

Earlier this month, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published its 2017 U.S. map of grocery-related sales tax. The majority of states, as well as the District of Columbia, “exempt most food purchased for consumption at home from the state sales tax,” while an additional 10 states either “tax groceries at lower rates than other goods” or “tax groceries fully but offer credits or rebates offsetting some of the taxes paid on food by some portions of the population.” Only three states—Alabama, Mississippi and South Dakota— “apply their sales tax fully to food purchased for home consumption.”


If you’re on the hunt for the perfect pop of green to wear, that t-shirt, dress or pair of socks most likely will be subject to sales tax. The Tax Foundation’s 2015 map of state sales tax applicability to clothing, however, highlights exceptions from coast to coast.

Curious about other tax questions? Get right to the source with CCH® IntelliConnect® and other research and learning solutions from Wolters Kluwer.


Caroline O'Reilly

All stories by: Caroline O'Reilly

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