Technical Information Release

Technical Information Release TIR 19-10: Sales of Meals Excluded from the Annual Sales Tax Holiday Weekend

Date: 08/02/2019
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64H, § 6A provides for an annual “sales tax holiday weekend,” i.e., two consecutive days during which most purchases made by individuals for personal use will not be subject to Massachusetts sales or use taxes.  This Technical Information Release explains recent legislation that amends G.L. c. 64H, § 6A.  Chapter 49 of the Acts of 2019 (“the Act”) amends G.L. c. 64H, § 6A to exclude “meals” from the annual sales tax holiday.  The Act makes no other changes to G.L. c. 64H, § 6A.   Under G.L. c. 64H, § 6A, as amended, the following do not qualify for the annual sales tax holiday and remain subject to tax: telecommunications services, tobacco products, marijuana or marijuana products, alcoholic beverages, gas, steam, electricity, motor vehicles, motorboats, meals and any single item the price of which is in excess of $2,500. 

The sales tax holiday will occur annually, on a two-day weekend designated by the general court by joint resolution no later than June 15 of that year. If the general court fails to adopt such a joint resolution by June 15 in a given year, the Commissioner of Revenue shall, no later than July 1, designate a two-day weekend in August of that year as the sales tax holiday.  For 2019, the sales tax holiday will occur on August 17 and August 18.

The annual sales tax holiday exemption applies to sales of tangible personal property bought for personal use only.  Purchases by corporations or other businesses and purchases by individuals for business use remain taxable.  Purchases exempt from the sales tax under G.L. c. 64H are also exempt from use tax under G.L. c. 64I.  Therefore, eligible items of tangible personal property purchased during the Massachusetts sales tax holiday weekend from out-of-state retailers for use in Massachusetts are exempt from the Massachusetts use tax. 

The Department of Revenue has issued a proposed regulation, 830 CMR 64H.1.8, that further explains the eligibility criteria and other rules regarding the annual sales tax holiday.  Provisions in the proposed regulation relevant to sales of meals will be amended to reflect the Act.


                                                                                    /s/Christopher C. Harding
                                                                                    Christopher C. Harding
                                                                                    Commissioner of Revenue



August 2, 2019

TIR 19-10

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