Friday, September 02, 2022

AUGUST 2022 - NO TN SALES TAX ON FOOD MONTH (published 9-2-2022; article #352)

FREE image of Hand Picking a Pepper, by People Creations, on PikWizard

Introduction

Howdy, y'all! Did you enjoy the 8/29/2022 article by “'Mater Lady” (Mrs. Appalachian Irishman)? After over sixteen years of trying, I prodded her into writing her first article. Let's see if she keeps it up! (Yes, dear, that's another prod.)

I kept a record of the food that we bought last month. The State of Tennessee did not collect sales tax on human food, in August 2022. I wanted to see how much we spent and how much “big money” we saved – just for the purpose of writing this sarcastic and humorous article.

Are y'all ready to dine on my words? Let's eat!

Context

The Tennessee State Government website, under Sales Tax Holiday, states:

For 2022, there are three sales tax holidays. The Tennessee General Assembly has approved two more sales tax holidays in addition to the traditional sales tax holiday on clothing, school supplies, and computers.

That website page indicates that one “sales tax holiday” is:

. . . on food & food ingredients (grocery sales tax suspension)[sic] which begins at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 1, 2022, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31, 2022. Click here for more information.

If someone bought groceries – at 12:00 AM, on 8/1/2022, or at 12:00 AM, on 9/1/2022 – he was unlucky! The bureaucrats are precise, to the minute, on minutia – while they swat at gnats and swallow camels. (Adapted from Jesus' words, in a more profound context. See Matthew 23:24.)

Warning: the “click here for more information” link, in the quote above, downloads a PDF document, from the Tennessee Department of Revenue, titled “Sales and Use Tax Notice #22-10, June 2022,” which references “Public Chapter 1131 (2022).” The bureaucratic details are mind-numbing. Don't click that link! If you do, and read it, you will swat at gnats! It's already September. The camel has been swallowed.

Our August 2022 Record

8/06   $98.08 all human food. 28 food items.
            $6.13 not charged/”saved” TN sales tax (6.25%).
8/13   $95.90 ($4.38, 2 cans wet dog food, for Molly). 29 items. 27 food.
           $91.11 human food.
             $0.41 TN sales tax (9.36%) on dog food.
             $5.69 not charged/”saved” TN sales tax (6.217%; $10 coupon).
8/19   $83.84 (includes $4.69, one tube of toothpaste). 16 items. 15 food.
            78.72 human food.
            $0.43 TN sales tax (9.168%) on toothpaste.
            $4.92 not charged/”saved” TN sales tax (6.25%).
8/20   $19.90 all human food. 6 items.
            $1.24 not charged/”saved” TN sales tax (6.23%).
8/27 $135.94 ($6.00, 2 bottles laundry detergent). 37 items. 35 food.
        $129.38 human food.
            $0.56 TN sales tax (9.333%) on laundry detergent.
            $8.09 not charged/”saved” TN sales tax (6.25%).
8/31   $48.48 (includes $5.19 cold deli, prepared food taxed).
          $42.68 unprepared human food. 13 items. 12 unprepared food.
            $0.61 TN sales tax (11.75%).
            $3.31 calc./”saved” TN sales tax (7.75% Sevier County).

Total 08/2022 human food items: 123.
Total 08/2022 human food cost: $459.87. ($3.74 / human food item.)
Total 08/2022 TN sales tax not charged/”saved:” $29.38 (6.38%).

Analysis

Our financial software provides snapshots of our grocery expenses. The following are five snapshots, by year.

  2001: $2,387.60 annual / 12 = $198.96 monthly.
  2010: $3,149.59 annual / 12 = $261.80 monthly.
  2017: $5,037.49 annual / 12 = $419.79 monthly.
  2020: $5,799.43 annual / 12 = $483.28 monthly.
  2022 (8 months): $3,843.49 / 8 = $480.43 monthly.

Do you see how I can swat at gnats? I apologize for the minutia! We'd like to go back to when groceries cost us about $260 a month – in 2010. We'd settle for about $420 a month – as in 2017. We still buy about the same type of groceries – fruit, vegetables, lean meat, juice, bread, and so forth. We buy very little, if any, unhealthy junk food. Of course, our income increased over the years. The grocery bill, however, has continued to hunger for bigger bites of the budget.

By the way, yesterday, while my ol' truck and I were out and about, I ate at a Wendy's. (That's the first “fast food” that I've eaten this year.) The standard hamburger, fries, Coke, and tax cost $10.04! I remarked to the cashier that the cost, decades ago, was about $4.00. I, however, am digressing.

Conclusion

Thanks, Tennessee State “Guvrmint!” In August, we spent $459.87 on human food. We saved $29.38, which is chump change. That's about like buying a pair of blue jeans. You pay $25.00 plus tax. The store price was $50 but marked down 50% off. In other words, you did not “save” $25.00. You spent $25.00 plus tax.

Who knows? I may send a $29.38 check to the Tennessee Department of Treasury. They might be able to “invest” that $29.38 better than we can spend it. I doubt that they can.

Well, I've swallowed my own camel, by swatting at a bureaucratic gnat. I'm done! Y'all take it easy. My next article will be profound. I promise.


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