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In Order to Avoid Sales Tax on Food in Wyoming It’s Best to Refuse Napkins, Resist the Urge to Heat Pastries

Today over the Tax Foundation’s Tax Policy Blog, we get a little taste of how fun defining something like “food” can be. Now, if you’re like some people we know, there is lots of stuff at the grocery that definitely should not be consumed by human beings but in order to avoid raucous debate, it gets the food label. Wyoming is one of the 37 states that partially or wholly exempt groceries from sales tax but just because something is a grocery store, that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be taxed. Sigh.

Under Wyoming’s new law, food is defined as “substances whether in liquid, concentrated, solid, frozen, dried, or dehydrated form that are sold for ingestion or chewing by humans and are consumed for their taste or nutritional value.” This does not include booze, tobacco or “prepared foods.” And yes, exactly what items are included in “prepared foods” is where things get a little confusing.

What is a prepared food? Here’s how the new law defines it:

• Food sold in a heated state or heated by the seller; or

• Two or more food ingredients mixed or combined by the seller for sale as a single item; or

• Food sold with eating utensils provided by the seller including plates, knives, forks, spoons, glasses, cups, napkins, or straws. A container or package used to transport the food is not an eating utensil.

”Prepared food” does not include:

• Food that is only cut, repackaged, or pasteurized by the seller;

• Eggs, fish, meat, poultry, or foods containing raw animal foods and which are required or recommended to be cooked by the consumer to prevent food-borne illness;

• Food sold by a seller whose proper primary North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) classification is manufacturing in sector 311, except subsector 3118 dealing with bakeries; [Ed. note: This is my personal favorite]

• Food sold in an unheated state by weight or volume as a single item; or

• Bakery items including bread, rolls, buns, biscuits, bagels, croissants, pastries, donuts, danishes, cakes, tortes, pies, tarts, muffins, bars, cookies, tortillas, and other bakery goods unless the item is sold as prepared food.

This isn’t nearly as confusing at Washington state’s attempt to define candy (Kit-Kat doesn’t qualify) but it’s about as windy as…well, Wyoming.

Wyoming Redefines Food: Don’t Overprepare Your Danishes [Tax Foundation]

In Case You Were Wondering, KPMG Is Still Wells Fargo’s Auditor

As we’ve discussed, the sudden departure of Wells Fargo’s now-former CFO, Howard Atkins, has been a bit of a mystery. The bank stated that Howie quit for “personal reasons” but Chris Whalen, for one, wasn’t buying that story and stated that it was an “internal dispute” at the Stagecoach Shop and “public behavior suggests significant problems in the bank’s internal systems and controls as defined by the Sarbanes-Oxley law.”

Then John Carney got all heresay yesterday, reporting:

Others say that the departure stems from a heated argument between Atkins and the CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf. Still others say that there could be even more personal reasons for Atkins leaving.

This is pretty fun because this “heated argument” could have been over something awesome like Atkins’s using Stumpf’s private commode without permission or a spurious challenge in their weekly Scrabble® match. Whatever the reasons for Atkins’s departure, all this speculation got the gang over at The Street wondering that maybe – just maybe – KPMG’s risk management team had soiled themselves over the whole situation and asked the audit team to start drawing up their resignation papers.

KPMG said Friday that it remains Wells Fargo’s […] external auditor, though the firm wouldn’t comment on recent criticism that Wells’ financial disclosures aren’t up to snuff. KPMG spokesman George Ledwith confirmed that the Big Four accounting firm is still working with Wells Fargo, which plans to file its 10-K annual report by the end of the month. Howard Atkins, who had been CFO of Wells Fargo for nearly a decade, resigned unexpectedly last week and won’t be signing off on that report. His replacement, Tim Sloan, will do so instead. “Yes, KPMG LLP is the external auditor for Wells Fargo & Company,” said Ledwith.

So what prompted this brief line of questioning is, in itself, a mystery. KPMG resigning as the auditor of Wells Fargo is about as likely as John Veihmeyer throwing all his copies of Rudy into an incinerator. But then again, maybe The Street knows something we don’t. Was/is/will there be any doubt that KPMG will remain the auditor of Wells Fargo? Rampant speculation and nightmare scenarios are welcome. And if you’re in the know, email us.

Auditor Stands By Wells Fargo [TS]