Tennessee to Suspend Sales Tax on Food in August

As part of the state’s 2022-2023 budget, Tennesseans can expect that the state’s tax on food and “food related items” will not apply during the month of August.

“As Americans see their cost-of-living skyrocket amid historic inflation, suspending the grocery tax is the most effective way to provide direct relief to every Tennessean,” Governor Bill Lee said upon signing the budget bill. “Our state has the ability to put dollars back in the pockets of hardworking Tennesseans, and I thank members of the General Assembly for their continued partnership in maintaining our fiscally conservative approach.”

The tax holiday will save Tennesseans four percent on their grocery bills, the normal tax level on food.

Some items are excluded from the tax holiday, including food that is already prepared.

“Prepared food is subject to the general state sales and use tax rate of 7 percent, plus the applicable local tax rate,” according to the Tennessee Department of Revenue. “The law does not define prepared food as food or food ingredients, which are subject to a reduced state rate of 4 percent, plus the applicable local tax rate.”

According to the agency:

Food is considered prepared food if it meets any of the following qualifications:

• It is sold in a heated state or heated by the seller

• It contains two or more food ingredients mixed together by the seller for sale as a single item, or

• The vendor who sells it also provides eating utensils, such as plates, knives, forks

Soaring inflation has caused many Americans to pinch pennies in recent months.

U.S. congressmen from Tennessee have outspokenly criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for the runaway inflation.

“Inflation is taxation – especially when it’s being fueled by reckless spending. The Biden Administration inherited one of the strongest economic recoveries of my life. It took fewer than two years for them to mess it up.” Representative John Rose (R-TN-06) said this week.

That sentiment was echoed by Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN-02).

“Inflation is up 8.6% this month, and gas prices are up 106% from when President Biden took office. Americans know this is a result of the president’s reckless spending, and they aren’t buying his attempts to dodge the blame,” Burchett said.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]



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15 Thoughts to “Tennessee to Suspend Sales Tax on Food in August”

  1. JRin

    We have a projected surplus of $1B, which means we have been over-taxed by $1B. We should st the very least get some of our money back through a gasoline/food tax holiday

  2. Ruth Wilson

    You mean we have to wait till August to eat!!?? Why don’t they take the sales tax off food permanently????? While they’re at it, reverse the Haslam Gas Tax passed just a few sessions ago, to aid and abet the Haslem family. And if they really care for the “poor” reckon they could take all the gas taxes off???? Just a few considerations from We, the People.

    1. ArKayne

      When you state that you “can’t eat” til August makes you a hyperbolic liar. TN’s sales tax is high, but there is no income tax. If you are one of those idiots that would trade one for the other you should move. KY is close by.

  3. william delzell

    After all, Tennessee has an August primary, and the Governor along with other state incumbents, wants the public to at least temporarily forget about the outrageously high sales taxes that Tennesseans have to pay in order to buy the necessary food and medicine items to keep their families from starvation and preventable diseases! We gotta keep the voters’ memories short!

    1. ArKayne

      Yeah. An income tax would be SOOOO much better.

  4. SpenceRus

    Hey General Assembly & Governor Lee. Wow, a 4% holiday on groceries for 30 days. How generous. What about the cost of almost everything else now up over 10% and gas over 100%? Where are those tax holidays? IMO this won’t even make a dent in most people’s budgets. But at least you get to feel good about yourselves and virtue signal while everyone else continues to suffer.

  5. Kevin

    BIG WHOOP! All this is going to do is spawn a run-on groceries for the one month, and further exacerbate the growing supply chain issues. All thanks to a “supermajority” of Republican legislators and a feckless Governor! It’s time to start throwing out the majority of the State legislature, starting with Cameron Sexton and Randi McNally. These two are trerrible!

    1. 83ragtop50

      Kevin – My thoughts exactly.

      I am sick and tired of a super majority that is anything but super.

    2. ArKayne

      Move to a state with an income tax. Your sales tax problem will solved.

      1. 83ragtop50

        It is not an “either or” question. Running $1 billion surpluses means that we are overtaxed. Such budgetary irresponsibility will eventually lead to (more) unnecessary state government spending. Cut the taxes and live within what is provided.

  6. Victor Andrews

    Why wouldn’t the legislature include ‘prepared’ food in the sales tax reduction? In the same way consumer’s are being hammered by inflation, restaurant business owner’s are being hammered too, but on both overall sales and food prices. Again, why not include prepared food to boost restaurant owners? Tennessee government is FLUSH with cash and they should do more with less like everybody else.

  7. JRin

    Seriously? ONE month? Tennessee is expecting a $1BILLION budget surplus this year, and we get ONE month of tax-free food? No tax rate reduction? NO gasoline tax reduction? ONE stinking month of tax-free food, while Tennessee decides how to spend the rest of the money they stole from us via a too-high tax rate? “Let them eat cake.”

    1. Ms Independent

      Again – ALL politicians are out of touch with everything and everyone…

    2. ArKayne

      We have a surplus because our state has been fiscally responsible. Why do stupid stuff now? I love how you and others here are beyotching about something that is OUTSIDE of Tennessee’s control. Y’all get a freaking temporary break and y’all still aren’t happy. The food cost is being run up by the incompetent financial decisions being made from the Idiocracy in Washington. You are offered a bit of a break yet and sit around whining like spoiled toddlers. It’s not perfect but it is something. Move back (or to) a state with an income tax if you’re not happy with the sales tax.

      1. JRin

        An approximately $1B surplus means that they’re taxing us over and above the amount they need to run the State. They should be figuring out ways to return the money to the taxpayer.