Hospitality Tax is a two percent (2%) local hospitality fee tax upon the gross proceeds derived from the sale of all prepared foods and beverages served within the City of Lancaster by any establishment.  In addition, the tax is imposed on all prepared foods and beverages sold in establishments licensed for the consumption of alcoholic beverages, beer, or wine within the City of Lancaster.

Prepared foods means food prepared or modified by an establishment that at the time of sale is ready for consumption by the public, regardless of the food’s actual quantity, presentation, or packaging.

Establishment means any business within the City of Lancaster that sells prepared meals and beverages.

What items are taxed?*
All food and/or beverages prepared or modified for immediate consumption, such as:

  • Produce (vegetables, fruit) cut, sliced, cored, etc., or prepared/modified on site
    (vegetable/ fruit trays)
  • Meats and cheeses cut, sliced, or prepared on site (meat/cheese trays)
  • Salads made on site
  • Sandwiches/subs prepared on site
  • Bakery items cooked/baked on site
  • Coffee brewed on site
  • Popcorn made on site
  • Ice cream prepared on site
  • Seafood steamed/cooked on site
  • Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, pizza, nachos, chicken, etc.
  • Packaged dinners cooked on site (Thanksgiving dinners, etc.)
  • Fountain drinks
  • Any food prepared, modified, or cooked on site by an employee or contractor
  • Any prepared foods or meals that are subject to South Carolina Sales Tax
  • Any served beverage, inclusive of beer, wine, and liquor

What items are exempt from the tax?*

* Cold, canned or bottled drinks in a vending machine on site
* Consolidating fruit into a basket (fruit baskets)
* Prepackaged items (not prepared or modified on site) consolidated into a larger
container to make one package (gift baskets)
* Prepackaged, ready-to-consume meats, cheeses, and deli salads
* Packaged dinners that are not cooked or modified on site
* Items cooked or baked off site without modifications on site
* Ready-to-eat prepackaged food a customer re-heats on site
(customer makes the food consumable)
* Prepackaged cans, boxes, or jars of food
* Bags of chips, pretzels, nuts, candy, or other prepackaged food items

If you have any questions, please call 803-283 -CITY (2489)

* This list serves as an example only and is not an all-inclusive list of exempt items.