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Fireworks Tax: Avoiding the Blast

Here in Ohio, you can sell and purchase fireworks, but not set them off. As of June 1, 2016, our neighboring state of West Virginia began allowing the sale, purchase and use of consumer fireworks. If fireworks are your thing, this may sound great—but there is a catch. Depending on where in West Virginia you purchase the fireworks, you will pay between 19% and 20% in sales tax.

The state sales tax rate in West Virginia is 6%. However, as of July 1, 2016, 11 municipalities began imposing an additional 1% sales tax, bringing to 27 the number of municipalities in the state that charge 7% in sales tax. Also, one municipality, Moorefield, began charging .5%.

In addition to the regular sales tax, there is a 12% fireworks tax or “safety fee.”  Seventy-five percent of this fee will support veterans programs within the state, and 25% will be allocated to the state’s Fire Protection Fund. Both are worthy causes; but it does significantly raise the price to buy fireworks across the border.

The difference in tax can be significant. If you were to purchase $200 of fireworks in Canton, Ohio, the tax would be $13.00 ($200 times 6.5% equals $13.00).

If you purchase the same fireworks in Charleston, West Virginia, the tax would be $40.00 ($200 times 20% equals $40.00).

If you plan to celebrate Labor Day with fireworks and are traveling south, you might want to purchase your fireworks in Ohio. That additional $27.00 of tax you just spent could have bought 60 more roman candles, 1 Barbarian Blast or nearly 3,000 snap-its!

Contact Chris Hemsworth at 330-668-1100 or chemsworth@skodaminotti.com, if you have any questions on this, or any other tax topic

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