Florida – Taxability of Salad Bar, Deli, and Bakery Items

SALT Report 1783 – The Florida Department of Revenue issued guidance regarding a Taxpayer’s sales of salad bar, deli, and bakery products. The Taxpayer operates a chain of grocery stores that have full-service delicatessens and bakeries.  Although several of the Taxpayer’s stores have tables and chairs inside and outside there is no table service, nor are there any trays, plates, or dishes provided for customers to eat food on the premises.  However, in some cases plastic eating utensils are available in bins that are accessible by the customers.

The Taxpayer requested guidance regarding whether its sales of bakery items and salads from the salad bar or deli are subject to tax. The Department determined the taxability as follows:

  • Sales of salad bar items in store locations that provide tables and chairs are subject to Florida sales and use tax because the items are considered “prepared foods sold for immediate consumption,”
  • Sales of salad bar items at stores that do not have tables and chairs are exempt when packaged without eating utensils,
  • Sales of deli salads such as chicken, tuna, egg, and potato, are taxable because the salads are not prepared off the premises and sold in the original sealed container, and
  • Sales of bakery products are exempt since they are packaged for consumption by the customer off premises

Florida does provide an exception for prepared foods that are sliced into smaller portions and repackaged; however this does not apply to the Taxpayer because the repackaging of the deli salads does not involve “slicing.”

For Further Information:

Florida Department of Revenue – Technical Assistance Advisement No. 12A-021