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Jun 28, 2002 11:59 AM

Tax on bakery goods to go?

  • b

I went to that new bakery at 18th & Guerrero last night. I bought a chocolate cake to go, and they charged me sales tax. I didn't say anything at the time because they all seemed very overwhelmed (the place desperately needs one of those "take a number" gizmos) and lots of people were waiting.

Does anyone know if bakeries are supposed to be charging sales tax?

If someone could post a citation to the applicable tax statute, it would be appreciated.

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  1. I certainly don't offer this as tax advice. As I am no expert, others surely know better. And, don't ask me how I know this.

    As you would expect, the complexities of the tax code are many. For example, if your cake had non-edible decorations, the value of the decorations (if large enough) is usually taxed. If the item was heated, and sold at above room temperature, it is probably taxable. That said, a general exemption for food products is described below, including a reference to the section of the CA tax code. The link is to a CA Board of Equalization's publication providing answers to frequently asked questions regarding sales tax.


    FOOD PRODUCTS — Sales of food for human consumption are generally exempt from tax unless sold in a heated condition (except hot bakery items or hot beverages, such as coffee, sold for a separate price), served as meals, consumed at or on the seller's facilities, ordinarily sold for consumption on or near the seller's parking facility, or sold for consumption where there is an admission charge. The exemption for food products includes snack foods, candy, confectionery, and chewing gum. (SECTION 6359)


    1. You should not have been charged tax on a "take away" cake. The tax codes on bakery items is a little complicated, but Tartine has a new register system that was not programmed properly in your case. Please come in and we will refund the tax charged to you. Sincere apologies for the mistake.

      1 Reply
      1. re: baker

        How nice of you to take the time to respond here, "baker". Given how busy you have been, this attention to detail and your honesty are quite refreshing and make me want to visit your shop even more (if that's possible.)