Navigating the tax landscape can be challenging. Celebs get confused, corporations miss the point. But luckily, here in New York State, we have the Department of Taxation and Finance to shed light on some of the murkier aspects of taxation, namely: sandwiches. The agency issued an entire tax bulletin—unearthed by Reddit user danwin—that defines the sandwich once and for all to...people who apparently don't know what sandwiches are.
For our general elucidation: "Sandwiches include cold and hot sandwiches of every kind that are prepared and ready to be eaten, whether made on bread, on bagels, on rolls, in pitas, in wraps, or otherwise, and regardless of the filling or number of layers." Fair enough, that seems pretty clear. But that wasn't enough for the Department of Sandwiches, which then went on to list possible types of sandwiches, "as simple as a buttered bagel or roll, or as elaborate as a six-foot, toasted submarine sandwich."
Types of taxable sandwiches include: BLTs, PB&J, gyros, breakfast sandwiches, Reubens, cheese-steaks and so forth. Nothing shocking there. Hot Dogs, sausages on buns, "fish fry" sandwiches, burgers and bagel sandwiches (either with spreads or fillings) also make the cut. Also, burritos. I guess that's like a wrap?
We called the Department of Dagwoods for some insight on how this list came to be and spokesperson Cary Ziter was kind enough to illuminate the finer points of The Great Sandwich List. "There's a long list of different tax bulletins on different subjects that are meant to give the general public and merchants and business people guidance as to what is taxable and what is not taxable," Ziter explained. "It's trying to stress the point that all sandwiches are generally subject to sales tax, that's the message you want to get across. So if you're running a bodega in the Bronx or a grocery store in Queens or a small gas station in Buffalo you have an understanding of what the law covers."
So what about items not included on the list, like tacos. Are tacos sandwiches? "What's that place down in Times Square? Chevy's? The big Mexican restaurant down there? If you order the three taco special, that's going to be a sales taxable event and it's going to be charged whatever the rate of sales tax is in NYC [Ed. Note: it's 4.5%]," Ziter illuminated. THE TACOS ARE TAXABLE, PEOPLE!
"It certainly starts out forcefully, I think, in the sense of guidance and try to help the public understand that pretty much all sandwiches are covered." Pretty much? Ziter didn't want to get into any minutia, so he left us wondering about a few possible sandwich designations. Does the New York State Department of Taxation, Finance and Hoagies consider Ice Cream Sandwiches sandwiches? What about Ramen Burger? The Quesarito? Oddly-named deli creations? And finally, how many god damn sandwiches do we have to make until the Department finally puts a ring on it?