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What are “qualifying food, drugs, and medical appliances”?

Answer #167 -- ( Published 08/09/2005 01:00 PM | Updated 07/12/2017 10:39 AM )

What are “qualifying food, drugs, and medical appliances”?

Qualifying food, drugs, and medical appliances are taxed at a lower rate (1 percent) than general merchandise (6.25 percent).

Food meant for human consumption that is to be consumed off the premises where it is sold (other than alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, candy and food that has been prepared for immediate consumption) is taxed at the rate of one percent.

The manner in which food is taxed depends upon two distinct factors that both must be considered in determining whether food is taxed at the high rate as food prepared for immediate consumption or the low rate as food prepared for consumption off the premises where it is sold: (1) whether the retailer selling the food provides premises for consumption of food, and (2) what is the nature of the food item being sold.

See Illinois Administrative Code, Title 86, Section 130.310 for more details on qualifying and non-qualifying food, soft drinks, and candy.

Prescription and non-prescription medicines are taxed at the rate of one percent. Grooming and hygiene products do not qualify for the one-percent rate, regardless of whether the products make medicinal claims. Rather, grooming and hygiene products are taxed at the general merchandise rate of 6.25 percent. However, through August 18, 2021, tampons, menstrual pads, and menstrual cups are exempt from tax.

Medicines and drugs, except for grooming and hygiene products described above, are defined as any pill, powder, potion, salve or other preparation for human use that purports on the label to have medicinal qualities. Medicines prescribed by veterinarians for animals are subject to the high rate of tax. A written claim on the label that a product is intended to cure or treat disease, illness, injury, or pain or to mitigate the symptoms of such a disease, illness, injury, or pain constitutes a medicinal claim.

A medical appliance is an item that is used to directly substitute for a malfunctioning part of the human body. This includes modifications to a motor vehicle for the purpose of rendering it usable by a disabled person, as well as testing utensils, syringes, and needles used by diabetics.

See Illinois Administrative Code, Title 86, Section 130.311 for more details on qualifying and non-qualifying drugs, medicines, medical appliances, and grooming and hygiene products.

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