Food Sold by Pennsylvania Church During Community Festival Taxable

A reissue of a 2004 Letter Ruling clarifies that sales of food or beverages by a church are generally exempt from taxation, provided the sales are in the ordinary course of the church’s activities, such as a sale to church members by a church organization in connection with a church function. However, if the church sells food and beverages to the general public in competition with other organizations or businesses selling similar taxable items, the church is operating an unrelated business and must collect sales tax. Therefore, a church who sells food and beverages from their premises adjacent to a community’s fall festival, in competition with vendors selling similar food and beverages and collecting tax, is required to collect sales tax. (Legal Letter Ruling No. SUT-04-011, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, February 19, 2004 (reissued February 20, 2009)

Posted on June 8, 2009