Temporary Sales Tax on Food

Emergency Sales Tax on Food Hearings:

Phoenix residents are invited to attend community hearings and offer input on proposed solutions to reduce the two percent emergency sales tax on food to one percent, effective Jan. 1, 2014, without reducing services to the community.  The remaining one percent will expire, as planned, in March 2015.  Council members and city management will provide information on the proposal and answer questions.  We also offer the opportunity to submit statements via telephone at 602-262-4800 (TTY 602-534-5500), online comment form, or e-mail.


Scheduled Meetings
Date & Time Location
Monday, Sept 9, 2:00 PM Madison School District, District Office, Board Room, 5601 N 16th St.
Monday, Sept 9, 6:00 PM Goelet AC Beuf Community Center, Multi-Purpose Room, 3435 W. Pinnacle Peak Rd.
Tuesday, Sept 10, 6:00 PM Paradise Valley Community Center, Multi-Purpose Room, 17402 N. 40th St.
Thursday, Sept 12, 5:30 PM Verde Park, 916 E Van Buren St.
Thursday, Sept 12, 6:00 PM Maryvale Community Center, Auditorium, Bilingual Meeting (Spanish/English), 4420 N. 51st Ave.
Monday, Sept 16, 5:30 PM South Mountain Community College Library, 7050 S 24th St.
Tuesday, Sept 24, 2:30 PM Phoenix City Council Chambers, 200 W Jefferson St. (Policy Agenda)
Thursday, Sept 26, 6:00 PM Cesar Chavez High School, Cafeteria, 3921 W. Baseline Rd.
Monday, Sept 30, 6:00 PM Paradise Valley Community Center, Multi-Purpose Room, 17402 N. 40th St
Tuesday, Oct 1, 6:00 PM Desert West, Bilingual Meeting (Spanish/English), 6501 W. Virginia
Wednesday, Oct 2, 6:00 PM Sunnyslope Community Center, 802 E. Vogel
Thursday, Oct 3, 6:00 PM Yucca Library, 5648 N. 15th Ave.
Wednesday, Oct 16, 3:00 PM Phoenix City Council Chambers, 200 W Jefferson St. (Formal Agenda)

View Public Hearings on Emergency Sales Tax on Food in a larger map

Phoenix city Hall


August 7, 2013 Memo to Council on Phased Reduction:

March 26, 2013 Budget Reduction Options for Potential Early Termination of Emergency Sales Tax on Food:

Sept. 13, 2011 Review of Temporary Sales Tax on Food:

April 1, 2010 Implementation of Temporary Sales Tax on Food: 

In April 2010, Phoenix implemented a temporary sales tax on food purchased for home consumption, also commonly known as the "food tax."

This was one component of a multifaceted approach to balance the city's budget in the midst of a $277 million shortfall in 2010. The resolution included the temporary sales tax on food, reduced employee compensation costs, innovation and efficiency savings, temporary funding of some public safety positions, additional Parks and Recreation Department revenue, and financial transactions.

The temporary food sales tax enabled the city to move forward early with a balanced budget that restored important programs, minimized cuts in services to the community, and continued to address ongoing structural budget issues.

Food Bank Assistance 

To mitigate the impact of the temporary sales tax on food to low-income residents, the Phoenix City Council approved the allocation of $250,000 in annual funding to establish partnerships with local food banks serving Phoenix residents. Following an evaluation process that selected providers based on submitted proposals, the City Council approved the annual funding distribution to the following agencies:

Exemption of Food Purchased with Food Stamps and Government Issued Food Instruments

All food purchased with food stamps or with government-issued food instruments is exempt from sales tax on food. In Phoenix, approximately $38 million per month is reportedly purchased using food stamps or government-issued food instruments and therefore is exempt from the sales tax.

Arizona Cities and Towns 

All cities and towns in Arizona follow the state's Model City Tax Code, which provides an option for municipalities to exempt food for home consumption from retail sales tax.

All cities that border the city of Phoenix have a sales tax on food in place, including: 

•Avondale •Chandler •Litchfield Park •Scottsdale
•Carefree •Glendale •Paradise Valley •Tempe
•Cave Creek •Guadalupe •Peoria •Tolleson

Also, 22 (or 92%) of the other 24 cities in the Maricopa County region collect sales tax on food.

Statewide, 70 of 91 cities and towns rely on the sales tax on food to provide important community services.

In Phoenix, the temporary sales tax on food is set by ordinance to expire in April 2015.

Restoration of Programs

Phoenix's temporary sales tax on food enabled the restoration of multiple services at risk of being extensively reduced due to funding shortages. These included:

  • Public Safety- 117 sworn Police positions, 62 sworn Fire positions and support for dedicated Public Safety funds
  • Community Enrichment- 5 large community centers
  • Seniors- 5 senior centers
  • Youth- 14 recreation centers
  • Libraries and Learning- 3 branch libraries and 21 after-school programs
  • Critical Infrastructure and Transportation- Same-day Dial-A-Ride and other transit service and necessary street maintenance
  • Fiscal Responsibility- additional contingency funding

View the Sales Tax on Food Allocation Plan

Additional Information:

Fund Distribution of Temporary Sales Tax on Food:

Fund Distribution of Temporary Sales Tax on Food chart