The past year saw a number of unusual sales and use tax laws enacted in a number of states.

Tax software provider Sabrix highlighted several such laws in an end-of-year wrap-up.

They include:

•    Marshmallows and yogurt-covered raisins in Wisconsin: Wisconsin recently enacted legislation stating that marshmallows are taxable unless they contain flour. In addition, the new legislation “clarifies” that while yogurt and raisins are both exempt, yogurt-covered raisins are taxable.

•    Flu vaccines in Illinois:  Illinois addressed the taxability of free flu shots administered to individuals without insurance. Although the individuals are not required to pay taxes on their free flu shots, Illinois noted that the donor of the “gift” is deemed the end user of the property and is subject to the use tax on that property.

•    Illinois candy tax:  Illinois changed its tax laws in regards to candy. Chocolate bars, yogurt- or chocolate-covered nuts or fruit, honey-coated nuts, caramel popcorn, lollipops, snack mixes containing yogurt or chocolate, breath mints, and gum are considered candy and are taxed at the standard sales tax rate. However, chocolate-covered cookies, yogurt-covered pretzels, “candy” that contains flour, plain dried fruits, and nuts with no added sweeteners are not candy, and therefore are taxed at the lower food rate.

•    Missouri yoga tax: Missouri became the only state to enforce a 4 percent sales tax on what many see as a spiritual pursuit: the practice of yoga.

•    Livery car services taxable in New York (unless you’re in a funeral):  New York changed its laws to tax transportation by livery services, such as limousines or car services. However, New York compassionately provided an exemption for such services if provided in connection with a funeral.

•    Streaming digital goods in Washington:  Washington became the first state to specifically tax the streaming of digital products (i.e., music, movies) when it recently enacted legislation under HB 2075. 

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