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Letter Ruling

Letter Ruling Letter Ruling 83-78: Food Products, Defined

Date: 09/22/1983
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Sales and Use

September 22, 1983


You request a ruling as to the application of the Massachusetts sales tax to the retail sales of the Foods line of products.

You state that the __________ product line consists of ready-to-serve entrees, bread and pastry mixes, whey-based drinks, potato flakes, and a product that preserves the flavor of coffee. All products require some preparation by the customer in the home before consumption.

The product that preserves the flavor of coffee, known as "coffee saver," is a powdered substance that is mixed into ground coffee before preparation. It is intended to preserve the freshness of the coffee, to remove its bitter taste, and to enable the consumer to reduce his caffeine consumption.

"Sales of food products for human consumption" are exempt from the sales tax. Included among "food products" are cereals and cereal products, flour and flour products, milk and milk products, meat and meat products, fish and fish products, vegetables and vegetable products, spices, coffee and coffee substitutes. Specifically excluded from the definition of food products are "medicines, tonics and preparations in liquid, powdered, capsule, lozenge and pill form sold as dietary supplements or adjuncts." (G.L. c. 64H, § 6(h)).

Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that the entrees, the bread and pastry mixes, the whey-based drinks, the potato flakes, and "coffee saver" are "food products" within the meaning of Chapter 64H, Section 6(h) of the General Laws, and their sales are exempt from the sales tax.

Very truly yours,

/s/Ira A. Jackson

Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue


LR 83-78

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