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Prepared food is generally subject to retail sales tax (RCW 82.08.0293). However, the law provides an exception for certain types of prepared foods, like sweet bakery items.

Sweet bakery items are exempt from retail sales tax, unless the seller provides the buyer with an eating utensil or the 75 percent rule applies (See Special Notices Sales of Bakery Items and Is Prepared Food More Than 75% of Your Total Food Sales?).

What are exempt bakery items?

Generally, sweet bakery items qualify for the sales tax exemption. Sales tax exempt bakery items include items filled with jelly, cream, fruit, or other sweet filling, such as:

  • Pastries
  • Donuts
  • Croissants
  • Pies
  • Cakes


Sweet bakery items usually have the taste or flavor characteristics of sugar or honey.

What are taxable bakery items?

Generally, savory bakery items do not qualify for the sales tax exemption. Taxable bakery items include meat, cheese, and/or vegetable filled foods, such as:

  • Pizzas
  • Calzones
  • Quiche
  • Piroshkies
  • Sandwiches
  • Other baked goods consumed as a meal


Savory bakery items do not focus on a sugary taste, even though sugar may be an ingredient.

What if I can’t determine if a bakery item is taxable or not?

Request a ruling from the Department of Revenue.