Pop quiz! How do you tax a Craisin?

If your business sells food, then you might know how incredibly complex food taxability can be. Exhibit A: the dried cranberry (commonly called the Craisin).

According to New York State tax law, glazed or sugar-coated fruits are taxed as candy, and candy is not exempt from sales tax like normal food. Now it just so happens that in order to make dried cranberries a food that human beings would actually consume, it’s necessary to add sugar. Unlike our saccharine, gets-all-the-boys friend the apricot, you can’t just throw a cranberry in the sun and expect the shriveled outcome to delight you. These high maintenance tarts just need a little extra care to make it into your salad. How dare someone use that against them and call them candy? You’re being health conscious, and they are delicious with feta and walnuts.

Thank goodness someone petitioned the Empire State about this matter back in 2008. The cranberries aren’t recklessly rolling around in syrup; they’re soaking in a relaxing bath of “characterizing juice” and sugar, infusing them with the sweetness they need to make it into your shopping cart. It’s a total abomination to smear that character by throwing them in with the likes of chocolate and dried pineapple chunks.

Don’t worry, you and your Craisins can sleep easy tonight. In August of 2009, New York restored their reputation. From Manhattan to Rochester, dried cranberries with added sugar are exempt from sales tax. Candy and sales tax will just have to make due without them. Be sure to update your registers accordingly, and stay tuned for our next installment of sales tax secrets.

photo credit: smiteme via photopin cc