In Michigan, are cough drops taxable? I was told they are seen as candy, and therefore not taxed. I just purchased some and was charged tax. Also, I was told bagged ice is a taxable item. Is this true?

1 Answer 1


See p. 3 of this Michigan state document:

The sale of ice for human consumption is not subject to sales or use tax. Ice sold for other uses (e.g., for cooling the contents of an ice chest, for use in an ice cream maker, for medical purposes) is subject to sales or use tax. Bagged (e.g., cubed or crushed) ice is presumed for ingestion/chewing by humans and exempt. The seller bears the responsibility for sales tax if this presumption is overcome. Ice sold in block form is presumed not for ingestion/chewing by humans and taxable. If this presumption is overcome by specific information provided by the purchaser, the seller is not responsible for sales tax

So bagged ice should be tax-exempt. They also state that

“Food and food ingredients” are substances, whether in liquid, concentrated, solid, frozen, dried, or dehydrated form, that are sold for ingestion or chewing by humans and are consumed for their taste or nutritional value.

It is debatable whether cube ice is sold for ingestion or chewing by humans, although some people do so; it is arguably not the case that people consume ice for its taste or nutritional value. So it would depend on which part of the state guidelines you read. (Alcoholic beverages, which are otherwise obviously food, are specifically excluded).

The status of cough drops is harder to determine since there is no explicit guideline, but they would seem to pass the "consumption for taste" test.

  • Don't people take cough drops to deal with coughing? They're labeled as a drug (list of active ingredients, dosing directions); I can't imagine many people eat them as candy.
    – Kat
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 17:54

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