By Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV


Why is it when I go to McDonalds and get the same meal on different days the tax is different but the price is the same?  McDouble $1 Sm fries $1 Sm drink $1.  $3 total.  Tax is either .19 or.21 for $3.19 or $3.21   Same meal, different tax.  –Chris, Winthrop

I can explain this as long as Chris is going to McDonalds in different cities and towns rather than to the same McDonalds.

There are 2 different meals tax rates in this state.  One is the 6.25% that goes to state coffers.  The other is 7%….with the additional .75% going to the community in which the restaurant resides.  The law allows cities and towns to increase the meals tax in their communities to 7% as a way of bringing in additional revenue.  So far 145 cities and towns have adopted this “local option” tax, according to the Mass. Dept. of Revenue.  So that means your final meals tax can change town to town.

On Chris’ $3 bill he is being charged 6.25% at one restaurant (that rounds to 19-cents….and 7% at another restaurant (which amounts to 21-cents).

You can see if your town has adopted the tax here.

All those .75% can add up.  Arlington brought in almost $200-thousand last year….Hadley $160-thousand…..Brookline $600-thousand, and Boston $13-million.  You can see what your town raised here.

However…if Chris is being charged different meals tax rates at the SAME restaurant…well then my answer is the restaurant is completely messed up and so is its’ computer systems.

Do you think this local tax is a good idea or bad?  Do you mind paying the additional tax?

Comments (3)
  1. emom says:

    I have seen this , questioned it but never got that as the answer. They tell me its how the system is set up. I wonder are these places , restaurants, stores, or any establishments obligated to advice us that they are charging this extra amount .. Also what do they do with this extra amount, does it truly go to the town, do they also list what on where or whom receives this extra money. It does seem a bit deceptive on their part . Since its not posted as such.

  2. Cynic says:

    If people can’t afford to eat it will go a long way toward solving the obesity problem.

  3. Cynic says:

    It used to be that take out wasn’t taxed,and there was no tax below $1.00. ( Remember the 99 Cent Ham and Egg specials?)
    I still think there is something inherently evil about taxing people to Eat
    .I wonder how many like myself will pass up the two buck cup of coffee because they don’t like giving the Commonealth 15 cents for a lousey cup when I can remember Coffee AND a Donut being 15 Cents.

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