TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, November 19, 2012

Twinkie Tax Policy: Deductibility of Advertising Food of 'Poor Nutritional Quality'

TwinkiesKay Bell and Kelly Erb rightly mock Rep. Dennis Kucinich for using the announcement by Hostess Brands that it is discontinuing the sale of Twinkies, Cupcakes, and Wonder Bread and laying off 18,500 workers to introduce H.R.6599:  "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to protect children's health by denying any deduction for advertising and marketing directed at children to promote the consumption of food at fast food restaurants or of food of poor nutritional quality." As Kelly says:

Under the proposal, ads and marketing targeted at kids for fast food, “any food of poor nutritional quality” and “any brand under which the majority of products are food of poor nutritional quality” would result in the loss of tax breaks. Deductions associated with marketing those products would be disallowed, including travel, promotions and gifts.

It may be well-intentioned but it’s a terrible idea. The notion of what is “poor nutritional quality” is so subjective that it borders on the ridiculous. While an attempt is made to qualify what might constitute what’s considered unsuitable, it’s a recipe for disaster.

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How about a 1000% excise tax on campaign commercials of poor informational quality?

Posted by: DonM | Nov 19, 2012 1:32:36 PM

"...just think how much you're going to be missing. You don't have Twinkies to kick around any more."

Posted by: Woody | Nov 19, 2012 9:03:17 PM

People still eat this stuff? I thought they were toys for my boys.

Posted by: Ben Dover | Nov 21, 2012 10:26:15 PM