The 2016 Maine State Sales Tax
What is the 2016 Maine Sales Tax Rate?
The Maine state sales tax rate is 5.5%, and the average ME sales tax after local surtaxes is 5.5%.
- Groceries and prescription drugs are exempt from the Maine sales tax
- Counties and cities are not allowed to collect local sales taxes
- Maine has no special sales tax jurisdictions with local sales taxes in addition to the state sales tax
- Maine has a higher state sales tax than 80.8% of states
Maine's tax was recently raised by a half a percent from 5% to 5.5%.
Maine has a "General, service provider, and use tax", which is for all intents and purposes very similar to the "sales tax" found in other states. There are special tax rates of 10% collected on auto rentals, and 7% on lodging (such as hotels), prepared food and restaurant meals.
If you are a Maine business owner, you can learn more about how to collect and file your Maine sales tax return at the 2016 Maine Sales Tax Handbook .
Maine Sales Tax Exemptions
Maine doesn't collect sales tax on purchases of most prescription drugs and groceries. Prepared Food is subject to special sales tax rates under Maine law. In most states, necessities such as groceries, clothes, and drugs are exempted from the sales tax or charged at a lower sales tax rate.
Some items may not be eligible for these reduced sales tax rates, such as expensive clothing, unhealthy food or drinks like soda, and certain non-essential pharmaceuticals. Maine does not treat candy or soda as groceries, which means they are not subject to reduced grocery sales tax rates. Other items including gasoline, alcohol, and cigarettes are subject to various Maine excise taxes in addition to the sales tax.
In some states, items like alcohol and prepared food (including restaurant meals and some premade supermarket items) are charged at a higher sales tax rate. Prepared Food is subject to a higher state sales tax then other items. The ME sales tax applicable to the sale of cars, boats, and real estate sales may also vary by jurisdiction. Maine's sales tax rates for commonly exempted items are as follows:
$100 Restaurant Dinner
$100 of groceries
$100 in clothes
$100 of consumer products
$7.00 sales tax
$0.00 sales tax
$5.50 sales tax
$5.50 sales tax
Maine Sales Tax Exemption Certificate
Unlike a Value Added Tax (VAT), the Maine sales tax only applies to end consumers of the product. Individuals and companies who are purchasing goods for resale, improvement, or as raw materials can use a Maine Sales Tax Exemption Form to buy these goods tax-free.
Companies or individuals who wish to make a qualifying purchase tax-free must have a Maine state sales tax exemption certificate, which can be obtained from the Maine Revenue Services . On making an exempt purchase, Exemption Certificate holders may submit a completed Maine Sales Tax Exemption Form to the vendor instead of paying sales tax.
Sales tax exemption forms (as well as business sales tax id applications, sales tax returns, and the full Maine sales tax code) can be downloaded from the Maine Revenue Services here .
Maine Sales Tax Calculator
Whenever you make a purchase at a licensed Maine retailer, your sales tax will be automatically calculated and added to your bill. To lookup the sales tax due on any purchase, use our Maine sales tax calculator.
Maine Use Tax
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If you buy goods and are not charged the Maine Sales Tax by the retailer, such as with online and out-of-state purchases, you are supposed to pay the 5.5% sales tax (less any foreign sales tax paid) for these items yourself as the Maine Use Tax.
Your are expected to voluntarily list your liable purchases on a Maine Use Tax Return, which should be attached with payment to your Maine Income Tax Return. Historically, compliance rates with with the Maine Use Tax have been low.
Maine Local Sales Taxes
Maine does not allow local jurisdictions like cities or counties to collect a local sales tax. The Maine state sales tax of 5.5% is applicable statewide. You can view the sales tax rates for various cities in Maine here.
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