Right now, if you buy a glass of beer or wine or a mixed drink in a bar or restaurant, the sales tax on that purchase is 5 percent. A proposal to increase that tax to 6.25 percent is now in a legislative conference committee working on the FY10 state budget.
There is also a proposal in the conference committee to remove the tax exemption that currently exists on the sale of alcoholic beverages in package stores (Governor proposed it, Senate has approved, House has not approved). Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that do not currently levy a sales tax on alcoholic beverages sold in package stores.
As part of the discussion on whether to approve removal of this exemption, you may hear or read about a state alcohol excise tax that already exists on the sale of beer, wine and alcohol in package stores only. The excise tax is baked into the price and does not show up separately as a sales tax would on a package store sales receipt.
Here is a quick consumer guide to the state alcohol excise tax. Each bottle of beer sold in a package store is assessed 1-cent in excise tax, so the cost of a 6-pack includes a 6-cent excise tax while the cost of a case (24 cans or bottles) includes a 24-cent excise tax. A 750 ML bottle of wine includes an 11-cent excise tax; a bottle twice that size pays 22-cents. A 750 ML bottle of champagne pays 14-cents in excise tax. A liter of a distilled spirit that is less than 15 percent alcohol (such as Kahlua) pays 29-cents. Distilled spirits such as gin, vodka, bourbon or whiskey that do not exceed 50 percent alcohol pay $1.05 per liter.
The alcohol excise tax produced about $71 million in tax collections for the state’s general fund in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008, and is on track to generate about that same amount this fiscal year. Removing the sales tax exemption is estimated to generate $80 million to $100 million annually. In its approval the Senate said it wants to dedicate the new revenue to the treatment of addictions.
DOR + Social Media — #CheckUsOut posted on Jul 28
State tax administration might not deliver such seismic news events as LeBron’s eagerly-awaited announcement of his return to his old Cleveland team, but knowing what’s going on at any given moment in the tax world could save you some time and effort, and maybe …Continue Reading DOR + Social Media — #CheckUsOut
Commute to work on the T, Commuter Rail or Turnpike? You may be eligible for a Massachusetts Commuter Deduction on your tax return! posted on Jul 16
The Commuter Deduction was enacted by the Legislature to cover specific commuter expenses. To help understand the deduction, the Department of Revenue’s DOR University has released an e-learning module explaining what qualifies for a deduction, real-life examples and how you can claim your commuter deduction …Continue Reading Commute to work on the T, Commuter Rail or Turnpike? You may be eligible for a Massachusetts Commuter Deduction on your tax return!
DOR Offers FREE E-Learning Course on Fraternal Organization Tax Responsibilities posted on Jul 9
Help get the word out! The Department of Revenue’s online DOR University has recently developed a new free e-learning course on the tax responsibilities of fraternal organizations. Fraternal organizations are considered a type of Chapter 180 Corporation, which are formed for charitable or other purposes. …Continue Reading DOR Offers FREE E-Learning Course on Fraternal Organization Tax Responsibilities