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Minnesota: Take Me to the Fair


 Taxable or exempt at the Minnesota State Fair?

“I’ll buy the peanuts and popcorn…  You can spend my pay…” (Take Me to the Fair).

State fairs call to mind grandstand entertainment, fantastic animals, and the enticing fragrance of fried foods. The Minnesota State Fair features extreme canines and bull riders. There’s a history and heritage center, a shooting gallery, and a newspaper museum. And in every area, there are opportunities to spend your pay: on jewelry and heat pumps, bacon-wrapped turkey legs and chocolate dessert salami. Oh yes.

Seller requirements

A Minnesota Tax ID number is required for all sellers who:

  • Sell any taxable goods or services at the fair.
  • Hire anyone to work at the fair (including friends and family members).
  • Pays nonresident entertainers to perform at the fair.
  • Must file a Minnesota income tax return.
  • Take orders to mail taxable products into Minnesota after the fair or after they leave the state.

Before leasing vendor space to a seller, the Fair Board is required by state law to obtain evidence that the seller is registered to collect sales tax.

Sales tax snapshot

The rate of tax for most sales made at the Minnesota State Fair is 7.125% (the general state rate of 6.875% plus the 0.25% Transit Improvement Tax). Sales of alcoholic beverages are subject to a different rate. St. Paul local sales tax does not apply.

Sellers may include sales tax in the price of the item sold, provided signage displays the fact that “Sales tax is included.” Otherwise, sales tax must be listed separately on customer receipts.

Taxable sales

Sales of the following are subject to sales tax:

  • Charges for rides, shows, exhibitions, and games of skill or chance.
  • Magazines and periodicals (newspapers are exempt).
  • Prizes for games of skill or chance.
  • Rentals of baby strollers (rentals of wheelchairs are exempt).
  • Taxable items (such as compact discs and posters) sold by entertainers.

Most clothing worn on the human body is exempt from sales tax. Accessories such as jewelry, handbags and sunglasses are taxable. Additional information.

Food

Determining which foods are subject to sales tax and which foods are exempt is tricky everywhere, including at the Minnesota State Fair.

As a general rule of thumb, prepared food is taxable. Prepared food is defined as:

  • Food sold heated or heated by the vendor.
  • Food with two or more ingredients mixed or combined by the vendor.
  • Food sold with eating utensils.

Eating utensils is defined rather broadly. For example, if a pickle vendor uses a wooden skewer to retrieve a pickle from the pickle container and give the skewered pickle to the customer, the pickle is taxable (the skewer = the utensil). How about that? Additional examples, equally bizarre, are provided here.

Selling taxable goods at the Minnesota State Fair? Read the fact sheet on the topic.

Selling taxable goods at multiple state fairs? Learn how sales tax automation software works.

photo credit: I_am_Allan via photopin cc


Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.