Best and Worst States for Drinkers and Candy Eaters

While many states don't tax candy, almost all states tax alcohol although these taxes vary widely.

Do you like to drink and/or eat candy? Paying for drinks and candy can really add up. This is especially true if you have to pay high sales tax or other taxes on your pina colada or Snickers bar. How much tax you have to pay on candy or liquor depends on the state you're in. Many states don't tax candy at all. Almost all states tax alcohol, but these taxes vary widely.

State Sales Taxes on Candy

All states have sales taxes except Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Almost all the states that have sales tax exempt groceries from such taxes. However, whether groceries includes candy varies from state to state.

The states that exempt candy from sales tax include: Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. These are the best states to be in if you're a candy lover.

On the other side of the ledger, here are the states that charge the highest sales taxes on candy:

State

Sales Tax on Candy

Indiana

7%

Mississippi

7%

Rhode Island

7%

Minnesota

6.875%

Kansas

6.5%

New Jersey

6.625%

Connecticut

6.35%

Illinois

6.25%

Texas

6.25%

Kentucky

6%

Iowa

6%

Maryland

6%

State Taxes on Alcohol

Dorothy Parker said "candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." Unfortunately (or perhaps not), alcohol is much more heavily taxed by the states than is candy. The only states that don't tax hard liquor are Wyoming and New Hampshire. The only states that don't tax wine are Wyoming, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Utah. But you must purchase wine and hard liquor at state owned stores in Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wyoming. All states tax beer.

The tax rates on alcohol differ for wine, beer, spirits (hard liquor). The highest taxes are charged on spirits, ostensibly to adjust for the higher alcohol content. So the quicker your beverage, the higher your tax.

The ten states with the highest taxes on spirits are:

State

Tax per gallon on distilled spirits (40% alcohol content)

Washington

$32.52

Oregon

$22.75

Virginia

$19.93

Alabama

$18.27

Utah

$15.38

North Carolina

$14.63

Iowa

$13.07

Alaska

$12.80

Michigan

$11.99

Idaho

$10.95

The 10 states with the lowest taxes on spirits are:

State

Tax per gallon on distilled spirits (40% alcohol content)

Missouri

$2.00

Colorado

$2.28

Texas

$2.40

Kansas

$2.50

Indiana

$2.68

Arizona

$3.00

Louisiana

$3.03

Wisconsin

$3.25

California

$3.30

Nevada

$3.60

The Bottom Line

If you like to both drink hard liquor and eat candy (hard or not), the best state overall is Nevada. It doesn't tax candy and it has the tenth lowest tax on hard liquor. The worst state overall for hard liquor and candy consumers is Iowa: it has the sixth highest tax on spirits and ties for the eighth highest tax on candy.

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