Happy National Ice Cream Day! Yep, it's a real holiday, celebrated each year on the third Sunday in July as part of National Ice Cream Month.
The yummy dairy product day and month were so designated in 1984 by a proclamation from then President Ronald Reagan.
Like we, or me anyway, need an official sanction to dive into a pint or half-gallon or gallon of our favorite frozen treat.
For most of us, when we buy our ice cream at our local grocery store, we don't pay sales tax on it or any of the other food items in our cart. Some states that do tax groceries do so at a lower tax rate. Yes, it's complicated, as I noted in an earlier post warning that if you're hungry, you better also have an appetite for taxes.
If you live in one of the five states with no statewide sales tax, though, it's easier.
So where are those sales-tax-free states? Spread across the country, from Alaska, Montana and Oregon out west to New Hampshire and Delaware on the eastern side of the United States.
Here's the scoop on their no sales tax stances.
ALASKA is the only state that doesn't collect any personal income tax or a statewide sales tax. However, that could soon change. Alaska's governor, having been rebuffed on his proposed income tax, is now pushing for a 3 percent state sales tax.
The added revenue, say tax advocates, is necessary to help ease Alaska's dire financial situation, which depends largely on oil prices and is struggling along with that industry. Local Alaska jurisdictions, however, are allowed to levy their own sales taxes. That might make it somewhat easier for lawmakers to accept a statewide sales tax.
NEW HAMPSHIRE follows through on its state motto "Live Free or Die" when it comes to taxes. On the income side, it only taxes dividend and interest earnings and it has no statewide or local sales taxes.
But beware, visitors, because the Granite State does add a 9 percent sales tax to the price of your hotel room and rental cars, as well as to restaurant meals. Since that ice cream sundae you get for dessert when you eat out is taxed, you might want to wait and make yourself one when you get home.
MONTANA has no sales tax, but certain communities with tourist-popular resort activities (think skiing, hunting and fishing) are allowed to add a local-option sale tax of up to 3 percent.
Like the meals-lodging-rental car levy in New Hampshire, the Montana sales tax burden is born largely by folks who don't live there, always a smart move for elected officials.
DELAWARE often is referred to as the United States' tax haven state because of its incorporation rules. On the individual tax side, the First State doesn't collect a sales tax from consumers, but is does levy a gross receipts tax on businesses. That corporate tax, say those who oppose it, generally is baked into production costs, meaning that consumers essentially pay a hidden sales tax.
OREGON doesn't collect a statewide sales tax, but some Beaver State residents are worried that a November ballot initiative could effectively create one.
If voters approve Initiative Petition 28 (IP 28), Oregon would establish a new gross receipts tax of 2.5 percent on sales by businesses in excess of $25 million. If you read about Delaware in the previous paragraph, you know what's coming.
Opponents of IP28 say that if it passes, Oregon businesses will increase their prices to cover the extra taxes they owe and to pay the higher prices they pay to suppliers who also will face the new tax.
If you don't live in one of these states, check out places that are offering free scoops and cones this National Ice Cream Day.
Personally, I don't worry about taxes when it comes to ice cream this or any day. I love it so much that I'll buy ice cream on all 365 days, 366 in Leap Years, tax or no tax. It's worth it!
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