Food items and home security services take the big hits tomorrow when Phase II of the General Assembly's sales-tax expansion goes into effect. Starting Monday, these items will be subject to the state's 5 percent sales tax. But the impact will be far from uniform, leading to consumer confusion.
For instance, if you buy popped popcorn, corn chips, pretzels, nuts or any mixture of these items at a grocery or market, you'll pay the tax; if you buy these items at a church social, school picnic, volunteer fire company outing or veterans bull roast, there's no tax.
Similarly, you will be taxed when you select from a grocer's salad bar, or when you order a party platter or pay for heated foods or sandwiches. You'll even have to shell out more to buy frozen desserts sold in containers of less than one pint. But read the fine print: If you buy a single ice cream sandwich, you're taxed; if you buy a dozen ice cream sandwiches, you're not taxed.