Declaratory Order - Fareway Stores, Inc.

On December 23, 2003, the Director issued a Declaratory Order stating that Fareway Stores, Inc. (Petitioner) was responsible for the collection of sales tax on the sales of roasted chicken by its grocery stores. Based on the facts presented, the Petitioner is an Iowa grocery store and sells roasted chickens out of the meat department of its various stores. The Petitioner does not have designated dinging areas in its stores. Instead, the customers of the Petitioner take purchased grocery items, including the chicken out of the store for consumption. Iowa Code section 422.45(12) requires that foods that are hot or cold prepared for immediate consumption off of the premises of the retailer are subject to Iowa sales tax. The Petitioner prepares the roasted chicken and the chicken is sold in its stores. The chicken is sold in a state that it is ready for immediate consumption. Additional preparation of the chicken is not necessary before it can be consumed. Accordingly, Iowa law imposes Iowa state sales tax and any applicable local option tax on the sale of the roasted chicken by the Petitioner. In this case, the Petitioner also requested a ruling on the sales tax of items similar to the roasted chicken. However, the Director could not provide an opinion regarding these other items due to lack of specificity regarding the type of items at issue, how and who prepared them and how the items are sold by the Petitioner.