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When it comes to Halloween, Illinois tax on treats is almost scary

by Dylan Sharkey, Illinois Policy

Taxes are different on different types of candy in Illinois, with some brands taxed six times more than others. Just because you can eat it, doesn’t mean Illinois’ tax policy sees it as food.

Photo: Sebbi Strauch/Unsplash
Illinois shoppers will pay higher taxes depending on the type of candy they choose for trick-or-treaters – at least six times higher taxes for some brands.

In Illinois, treats prepared with flour don’t count as "candy". That means Halloween favorites with flour including Kit Kats, Twizzlers and Twix aren’t recognized as candy because Illinois considers them to be food.

Candy sales are taxed at 6.25%. Treats containing flour are considered regular grocery items and taxed at 1%. So the sales tax for a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar is over six-fold the tax of the Cookies & Cream version.

States such as Arzona and Michigan consider all candy grocery items, with no special tax rate. California exempts all groceries from sales taxes.

Sales taxes in 2021 will net Illinois an estimated $7.4 billion, the second-highest revenue source behind income taxes. When you stock up for Halloween in Illinois, a little flour in your treats could save you a little dough.

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