Grocery Tax Bill Causes Concern, Confusion For Local Stores In Tulsa

The tax elimination was intended for items that people take home as groceries, but gift shops that sell things like candy and soda weren't quite sure how those products would be taxed if people opened them in the store.

Friday, March 1st 2024, 4:53 pm



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The tax elimination was intended for items that people take home as groceries, but gift shops that sell things like candy and soda weren't quite sure how those products would be taxed if people opened them in the store.

A new load of goodies arrived on the front steps of Decopolis Art Deco Museum and Gift Shop and Tulsa.

"We have a whole bunch of taffies over there that kids get to pick out and select and put them all in a basket and a bag," said shop owner and artist William Franklin.

But as Franklin unloaded the items, he wondered how much he would have to charge.

"How am I going to make this work with there being a slightly different tax rate on those items versus other items," he said.

Governor Stitt signed House Bill 1955 into law, eliminating the state portion of the grocery tax, but the new law came with some gray areas for store owners.

"So, does that count, and would I have to put it in the system differently? It really starts to become confusing on all of that," said Franklin.

In addition to gifts, Decopolis sells food items like candy and soda. While the bill clarified that those items wouldn't be taxed by the state, it said prepared food items are still taxed, and if people enjoyed the treats at his store, Franklin wondered if they would be considered prepared.

"Well, a lot of times people will take them, or a lot of times, we have picnic tables and stuff outside, and kids and families will, you know, have their drinks and soft drinks and candy stuff here," Franklin said.

He said he wanted to make sure he was following the law.

"It has to be done legally even if it's a small thing. You can't just mess around with that you know it has to be done right." But he wishes there was more clarification for stores like his.

"We'll see how it all pans out and how it goes and hopefully they'll give us more guidance on that."

News On 6 reached out to Senator Greg Treat's office who referred us to the Oklahoma Tax Commission for clarification. We are still waiting to hear back.

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