What is Sales Tax? -
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The Arizona state sales tax rate for most retail purchases is 5.6% (effective June 1, 2013). Maricopa County adds on .7% sales tax to support roads and jails. That's a total of 6.3%. Then, each city may add sales tax. If you add the total of the Arizona sales tax and Maricopa County sales tax, 6.3%, to the city sales tax rate, you'll get the total retail sales tax that you'll pay when purchasing merchandise in that city.
5.6% (state) + .7% (county) + x = percentage for sales tax you pay in your city.
where x = the city sales tax.
The State of Arizona does not charge sales tax on food purchased at retail outlets for home consumption (grocery stores). Cities are allowed to do so, and almost all of them do, with the exception of Mesa and Surprise. The City of Phoenix, which previously did not charge a sales tax on groceries, instituted a 2% tax on those items in 2010.
When shopping in those cities, be aware of buying grocery items in stores that are not really grocery stores. Their systems might not have the capability to charge a different tax rate for file cabinets as opposed to coffee.