DOR Issues Updated Guidance on Sales Tax Holiday, “Meals” Once Again, Excluded

Sales Tax Holiday rules “business as usual”

 After some confusion, the Sales Tax Holiday (STH) is back on track.  On Thursday, August 1st, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a corrective amendment into law clarifying that “meals” would continue to be an excluded item, ineligible for the tax-free weekend.  Meals (including alcoholic beverages purchased as part of a meal) had never been included in any of the past twelve holiday events and their potential inclusion in the permanent holiday was a legislative drafting error, now corrected by the Legislature and the Baker Administration.
The STH, slated for August 17 and 18, 2019, will now proceed under mostly the same rules it has in the past, and with mostly the same exclusions.  The Department of Revenue (DOR) has issued updated guidance, including a new Technical Information Release, TIR 19-10: Sales of Meals Excluded from the Annual Sales Tax Holiday Weekend, and an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

During the two-day holiday weekend, no sales tax is to be charged on purchases that meet the following criteria:

  • Purchases must be for personal (non-business) use;
  • single-item prices must be $2,500 or less; and
  • purchases must be made on either August 17th or 18th, 2019. 

Prior sales, layaway sales, and sales of telecommunications services, tobacco products, marijuana or marijuana products, alcoholic beverages (to be drunk on premises), gas, steam, electricity, motor vehicles, motorboats, meals, and items priced over $2,500, are ineligible for the holiday and remain subject to the sales tax.  

If you have any questions or need assistance as you prepare for the holiday, feel free to contact the RAM office at (617) 523-1900.