Food and Drink Feed

…and possibly get a sweet tax break for your gift. Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images There are two kinds of Halloween candy people. There are those who low-ball their trick-or-treater count and end up running out of goodies to give out early in the night's festivities. They turn off the porch and interior lights, and ignore the doorbell ringing by costume clad candy seekers who refuse to bypass any house. Then there are those who buy waaaaay too much candy. Even when they start doubling the handouts to the later goodie-seeking groups, they end up with a lot, a... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell Do you have your candy for Halloween's trick-or-treaters? Or are you going to have to make another grocery store run to replace the sweets that someone somehow munched early? No judging here. Been there, done that. This week. 😊 And we surreptitious candy snatchers are not alone. Halloween and all its accoutrements, edible and otherwise, is incredibly popular in the United States. This year is expected to be record-setting. Spooky expenses: Total spending for Halloween 2023 is expected to reach a record $12.2 billion, exceeding last year's record of $10.6 billion, according to the National Retail... Read more →


A photo of Chocolate Lab's chocolate lasagna, posted on Yelp in March by a diner. The Denver, Colorado, eatery now is closed, apparently due to delinquent taxes. Even before The Bear started streaming, it was no secret that running a restaurant is difficult. In addition to culinary responsibilities, restauranteurs must tend to zoning issues, health department inspections, and labor concerns. And, of course, there are tax matters. It's that last one that apparently has led to the closure of Denver's only chocolate-centric restaurant. I know, you wish you had made it to the Mile High City to try out Chocolate... Read more →


Ristorante Piccolo in the Georgetown section of the nation's capital offers al fresco dining, when it's open. Currently the business is closed, but not because of its owners tax- and COVID-related guilty pleas this week. It sustained fire damage back in June. (Photo from Piccolo's Facebook page) The restaurant sector was particularly hard hit during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many were able to survive in part thanks to federal emergency relief programs. But some eateries took criminal advantage of Uncle Sam's help. And one such couple this week pleaded guilty to using $738,000 in coronavirus assistance money for... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Shoppers in 14 states are taking advantage of sales tax holidays in August. Tennessee's back-to-school tax-free event was in late July. But Volunteer State shoppers have another way to escape sales taxes this month. And in September. And in October, too. Tennessee's new Grocery Tax Holiday began at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1. Food and food ingredients are exempt from sales tax until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 31. During the three-month grocery tax holiday, shoppers won't have to pay the state's 6.75 percent state and local option sales tax on food and food ingredients. The... Read more →


Great American Park vendor selling frozen treats and beer at a Cincinnati Reds game. (Photo by Chris Metcalf via Flickr CC) Happy MLB Opening Day! No, it's not an official holiday, but it should be. I've been to several Major League Baseball opening days in person over the years. It's great fun. It's also expensive. A ticket to a major league ballpark these days can blow a full grocery budget to bits. And speaking of food, the cost of concessions is outrageous. But since you no longer can bring in food — yes, I'm old enough to remember when we... Read more →


UPDATE, May 3, 2024: Yes, this item originally was published on a prior Margarita Day. But since that adult beverage also is big part of celebrating, at least here in Texas, Cinco de Mayo — which, by the way, has its own tax connections — it's definitely worth a repost and a toast today. So jot down the recipe offered by the always animated (in every sense of the word) Sterling Archer. It will help the associated federal and state alcohol tax info go down a bit easier. ¡Salud! FX/FXX TV's spy-turned-private detective Sterling Archer offers his margarita recipe. If,... Read more →


via GIPHY Seven days from now, many of us will be opening Christmas presents. Hanukkah is underway. Regardless of what or how you celebrate December holidays, your purchases probably increase this month. And this year, inflation, even though it's abated a bit recently, means you have or will pay more for all those gifts, food, and other festive trimmings of the season. Every year, PNC financial services issues its Christmas Price Index, or CPI. It measures, using a methodology similar to Uncle Sam's official CPI, or consumer price index, the current costs of the gifts given in the classic holiday... Read more →


Photo by Kindel Media I am not a fan of camping. Bugs. Sleeping on the ground (see bugs). But I do love campfires, especially when they're used to char marshmallows for s'mores. Apparently so do millions of other people worldwide. And thanks to a United Kingdom tax ruling, that country's fans of this graham cracker-chocolate-marshmallow treat can continue to enjoy the gooey goodies across the pond sans some VAT, or value added tax, charges. A U.K. tax tribunal recently ruled that a British food wholesaler of American snacks is not liable for VAT on its product Mega Marshmallows, which are... Read more →


Photo by Ben Vardi (Ben Vardi, Public Domain) It's the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend marking the end of summer. It's also three straight days of college football games. So, of course, folks are enjoying cookouts and/or tailgating. Both those events typically involve adult beverages, surreptitiously in the case of college football games, depending on where you're holding your "Go Team!" pre-game celebration. Today's multiple Saturday Shout Outs welcome this convergence of the United States' most popular sport and Labor Day weekend. First, there's the legal aspect of booze and parking lot football parties. Intoxalock looks at 5 Alcohol Laws... Read more →


Photo by Zaji Kanamajina on Unsplash Here in the United States, sin taxes were the lone revenue bright spot for many states, at least early during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it's a different story in Japan. Alcohol consumption among younger Japanese already had been dropping pre-COVID, in part due to a national plan launched in the 1990s to reduce alcohol-related health and societal problems. When COVID spread across the globe, drinking in Japan, especially among younger people, dropped even more. The result is that current liquor tax collection in Japan has plummeted. Japan's liquor tax revenue... Read more →


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio These last 2+ years of lingering coronavirus pandemic have prompted some folks to become more adventurous. They've done isolation 180s, now opting to hit the road. Some have even gone as far as to move far, far away from their homes. When U.S. residents make international moves for work, there's one part of the country they keep. They still must file tax returns and pay tax to Treasury on their overseas earnings. Yeah, I know. Not exactly the memento from home you wanted to take on your travels. The good news, though, is that Uncle Sam... Read more →


The biggest nutritional problem the hubby and I have is deciding what to cook for dinner, and then who's going to cook it. Sometime we just opt for what we call foraging, with each of us finding something to eat that night on our own. We are lucky. Our meal hunts are easy, confined to our well-stocked kitchen. However, an estimated 800 million worldwide face food insecurity. That includes an estimated 38 million people, 12 million of whom are children, in the United States, according to 2019 data from the Department of Agriculture. As we celebrate today's 52nd Earth Day,... Read more →


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels Inflation is the biggest domestic, and political, concern right now. And after months of waiting, the Federal Reserve's expected reaction to rising prices came last week. The board members of the United States' central bank raised interest rates on Wednesday, March 16, for the first time since 2018. The bump of a quarter percentage point to its benchmark rate is the first of expected increases to combat the country's highest inflation in four decades. When all is said and done, most financial observers say the previously near-zero interest rates to be near 2 percent... Read more →


Shutterstock If you're celebrating the end of 2021 and welcoming 2022 with an adult beverage at midnight, enjoy! When you bought your booze, you might have noticed it cost a bit more, especially if you go bubbly. Apparently, says Wine Searcher, "The much-vaunted Champagne drought of 2021 is real – and it's starting to show in the retail sector." Wine Enthusiast says here in the United States, we're in the early stages of a Champagne shortage that is expected to last several years. When things are hard to get, the ol' law of supply and demand means the price tag... Read more →


Thirsty New Yorkers celebrate Prohibition Repeal Day at a local, again legal, bar. Image from Las Vegas' National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, more popularly known as The Mob Museum, blog post on how Prohibition changed beer. Today's a big day for tax geeks and craft beer aficionados, as well as for lovers of fine (or cheaper; no judging here) wines and liquors. On Dec. 5, 1933, Prohibition ended with the passage of the 23rd amendment to the U.S. constitution. Whenever last century's 13-year booze ban is discussed, the focus naturally tends to be on the alcohol component.... Read more →


Photo: Satya Murthy Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday obviously is about acknowledging all we have to be thankful for in the past year and beyond. It's best when spent with family and friends. And, of course, it's about eating! Turkey and dressing. Green bean casserole. Double-stuffed baked potatoes. Celery stalks overflowing with pimento cheese. Fruit salad. Pies. Lots of pies. That was what I grew up eating. We lived in the same West Texas town as grandparents, so the fourth Thursday of November definitely was a beloved routine. My Mom always helped out my Mam-ma, her mom, and on most occasions... Read more →


The loss of tax revenue is substantial, since most states collect tax (or are supposed to) on all their meals, from eat-in to pick up to delivery. Tasty and taxable. (Photo by Adrienn via Pexels) Running a restaurant poses many challenges. Dealing with increased food costs. Hiring and training staff. Finding an accessible and affordable location. Complying with health and other regulatory rules. Paying taxes. The tax consideration is getting special attention in California, where an extended investigation reveals that around a fifth of the state's restaurants are using high-tech methods to skip out on taxes. "The California Department of... Read more →


Image by Hucklebarry from Pixabay When the hubby and I started out our life together, we were young and poor. Like watching every cent poor. That included our food budget. All those decades ago, our regular Monday night meal was macaroni and cheese. In the budget-conscious beginning, it was store brand boxed mac and cheese mix. As our earnings increased, we upgraded to brand name boxes. We knew were doing OK when Monday Meal morphed into the frozen version. We still have Monday Meal, but not exclusively on the first weekday. But it's still a quick dinner that we supplement... Read more →


Attention shoppers in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Your states are holding back-to-school sales tax holidays this final weekend in July, and beyond for Sunshine State and Volunteer State tax bargain hunters. Retailers are getting ready for youngsters to return to classrooms. Shoppers are getting ready for tax-free savings on school supplies and more. (Photo by Kay Bell) Despite a surge among unvaccinated of the COVID-19 Delta variant, most schools are making plans to welcome students back to classrooms this fall. Retailers also are joining the back-to-school parties. This year, 18 states scheduled sales tax-free events, most of them... Read more →