Eat-in Tax at McDonald's???

So I broke down and took my six-year-old to McDonald’s (don’t judge me) and ordered “for here”. While we were eating I glanced at the receipt and saw a line item for “Eat-in Tax” – $0.50! What’s up with that?

Granted, our combined dinner was under $10, so I didn’t feel like taking the time to ask about it.

Anybody else see this? (btw, next time I’ll order it to-go and sit at a table anyway)

Yeah, I’ve noticed this. I did what you plan, and found that if you order it to go there’s a “Take-out Tax”, which is exactly the same percentage, which was the same as sales tax. I don’t know why they don’t just label it “Sales Tax”. Maybe in some states there’s a difference.

There is a difference here in NH. There’s no sales tax but there is hospitality/prepared food tax. Eat in or Take out at McD’s would be subject to the same prepared food tax (I have seen “Take-out tax” on my drive-through receipt). Groceries of course have no tax but prepared food bought in the grocery store does.

This may or may not be relevant but in the UK we have an eat-in tax (only).

That’s because food bought for private consumption is considered groceries and is exempt from sales tax. But food bought in a restaurant to eat on-site is, I dunno, a luxury or whatever, and the tax is collected.

For simplicity’s sake, many fast-food restaurants charge the customer the same price either way and basically make less profit on food eaten at the restaurant. But some have separate pricing.

Based on Strinka’s post, I’d ask the OP if there was Sales Tax on the receipt in addition to the Eat-In Tax. It’s possible that that’s just where they decided to stick the Take-Out/Eat-In field on the receipt, and it happens to look like it’s part of the Tax line. If there was an Eat-In Tax and a Sales Tax, though, I have no idea.

That’s just a WAG; I haven’t encountered this before. I don’t eat at McDonald’s, but I’ll keep an eye on receipts when I do eat at other fast food places. Usually practices tend to spread through the industry if it’s not simply regional.

Some states do not tax take-out orders of food, but do tax dining in. This is because the state does not apply sales tax to food, prepared or otherwise. Ohio is one such state.

The sales receipt is denoting that the tax is being applied because you are eating in. McDonald’s can then use the same program for any location, and only needs to change the database to reflect what the “eat in” and “take out” taxes are (in Ohio, take-out would be 0%, and undoubtedly the programming is instructed not to print a tax line if the result of the calculation is $0).

Whoo, I’m way off. I suspected it was a regional thing, but I have no experience with East Coast peculiarities. :wink:

Or lie on their taxes :wink:

And it’d be so difficult to insert an “if (takeouttax == eatintax) print(“Sales tax”);”? It would probably save them… billions of dollars.

It would save them billions of dollars to have the sales receipt say “sales tax” instead of “eat in tax”?? :stuck_out_tongue:

Some places have a regular sales tax and a prepared food tax. That is the case where I live in NC. The prepared food tax goes to fund local projects such as convention center, sports arena, soccer stadium, etc.

Hey, that extra space uses up a lot of ink.

But it is not sales tax, it is eat-in tax, or take-out tax presumably a different section of tax code. That they are equal in amount does not make them the same by name.

A lot of places use a prepared food tax along with a local hotel tax to fund local projects related to tourism. The theory is that out of town people pay a lot of those taxes - especially hotel version - so it’s not as bad as a normal tax.

San Francisco just added a special tax on restaurant tabs to pay for health care for its residents.


I worked in a number of fast food places in high school and college, some of which noted either “take-out” or “eat-in” next to the tax amount. It was just plain old sales tax- the “eat-in” or “take-out” was a notation to the servers so they would know whether to put the order on a tray or in a bag.

Every McDonald’s I’ve worked in has used thermal paper :wink:

I asked this question last year on this board. A person who worked at McDonald’s replied that it’s just the sales tax.
The “eat In” and “Take Out” part was to help the marketing department determine the percentages of sit down versus drive through business.

Whoops! I realize Dorean gives an even better reason in post 15

boozilu, if you don’t mind sharing what city/county/state/country are you in, we could probably find a specific answer. Wikipedia has great chart showing which, despite massive oversimplification, still shows just how complex sales taxes are in the US:

Whu ? I don’t get it. Where I live, most restaurants who do both eat in and take out will charge you more for eating in. Which is fair IMO : eating in means they have to buy the tables and chairs, maintain an “eating zone” in compliance with health codes, wash the cutlery and so on. More effort, more money.

Am I missing an important fact here ?

ETA : that said, most of these places work it out to their advantage : they’ll list the “Eat in” prices and have a big advert going “X% off for take away !”. So the people eating in don’t feel ripped off, and the people eating out feel like they’re savvy. Win all across the board.