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Sales Tax Exemption for Older Americans


 Meals for seniors may be sales tax exempt.

The Older Americans Act, created in 1965, established the Administration on Aging within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. At roughly the same time, the National Association of State Units on Aging (now the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities) was born. Together, these and other organizations focus on improving services and support for seniors and their caregivers.

The Older Americans Act (OAA) has been reauthorized and amended numerous times during the last fifty years. Yet it is now long overdue for renewal. Earlier this year Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015, which seeks to reauthorize, amend and fund the program through FY 2018.

According to Forbes, nutrition is a primary focus of OAA. “Under this program, older adults are provided with meals and nutrition education in either congregate sites… or through home-delivered meals.” Goals are:

  • To reduce hunger and food insecurity among seniors
  • To reduce isolation in seniors
  • To promote the health and well being of seniors

Exempt meals for seniors

One way to make meals more affordable for seniors is to exempt them from sales tax. In Idaho, for example, “meals sold to senior citizens through programs under Title 111-C of the Older Americans Act” are exempt from sales tax. They are likely to remain so, as the governor recently approved legislation that corrects a code reference to the Older Americans Act. Meals served to low-income elderly people may also be exempt from sales tax in California, Massachusetts, and other states.

Simplify the management of sales tax exemptions and increase compliance in all states. Learn more.


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.