Halloween Candy Sales Tax by State | H&R Block

October 26, 2017 : Diamond Lambert

Over 170 million Americans are expected to celebrate Halloween this year. Among the millions of fright-seekers, roughly $8 billion is spent by consumers during the holiday–and climbing. Of that billion-dollar figure, over $2 billion alone is spent on candy. That’s an awful lot of sweet stuff to go around!

Did you know that some states apply an extra tax on those tasty Halloween sweets? The reason for these sales tax rules cover a broad range of reasons from health concerns to convenience fees. That means your favorite bite-size candy bars can potentially come with a tacked-on price.

Before loading up on this year’s holiday treats, review our info-graphic to see if the state you reside in will tax your candy tab this season.

2017 Halloween Candy Sales Tax By State

halloween candy map

Understanding Sales Tax By State

Those residing in the states of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, or West Virginia are all-clear from candy-specific taxes. The areas of the map shaded as “exempt” face limited sales tax or statutes exist to exclude candy from being taxed in specifically outlined instances.

For example, in Washington, D.C. when less than six candy bars are purchased for “immediate consumption” it’s taxable if purchased with cash, yet qualifies as exempt when purchased with food stamps (D.C. Code Ann. 47-2001(n)(1)(A); D.C. Mun. Regs. 9 ; 443.10).

As mentioned, the reason why candy is taxed varies by state. For example, in the State of Illinois, “candy does not qualify as food for human consumption,” and is expected to be consumed, “off the premises of where it is sold,” according to ILCS Chapter 35.


The National Retail Federation provided figures for the top Halloween activities among U.S. citizens for the night of frights. Passing out candy accounted for 70.9% of all activities, followed by decorating one’s home at 48.6% and dressing up in your favorite costume at 47.1%.

Clearly, the love for Halloween candy is something Americans–young and old–can’t resist! If you’re curious about the sales tax laws within your state, consult a local Tax Professional.


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Diamond Lambert

Diamond Lambert

Diamond is your number one supporter of all things #taxeswon! She devotes countless hours as a marketing and advertising team manager at H&R Block World Headquarters. Diamond is a graduate of Franklin University holding a Master’s of Science in Marketing & Mass Communications.