Candy Taxes

Hayes Holderness

Did you know Sour Patch Kids and Snickers are not equal when it comes to how much you ultimately pay for them?

As you fill your trick-or-treat bowls and stomachs with different types of candy this Halloween, law professor Hayes Holderness, a tax law expert, can discuss why certain types of that Halloween candy are taxed differently than others.

"Many people believe that the basics — food, shelter, medicine, etc. — should not be subject to sales taxes, and for good reason: we don't want to overly burden the neediest parts of society with taxes," Holderness said. "But not all food is equally necessary for basic survival, so shouldn't those items be taxed? Take candy for instance, surely that Snickers is a luxury treat. Even so, many states continue to exempt it from sales tax, even though Sour Patch Kids bear the full weight of the taxes. Why? It's the flour content. It turns out that drawing administrable lines of taxability can be an incredibly difficult task, whether we're talking about food or computer software. So 'candy' for tax purposes often means a confection without flour."

Contact Sunni Brown, director of media and public relations, at to connect with Hayes.