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No COVID-19 tax holiday for sales and liquor by the drink taxes

Apr 13, 2020

We keep hearing this question from industry members. 

“I do not have to pay sales and liquor by the drink taxes under the Governor’s executive order, do I?”

Not true. All sales and liquor by the drink taxes collected in March, April and subsequent months must be paid over to the state.  If you do not pay the taxes, expect a nastygram like this.

There is one important caveat. 

Wine, spirits and high gravity beer sold to-go or delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic are not subject to liquor by the drink taxes.  The rationale is that to-go and delivery sales are not for on-premises consumption, and therefore, should not be subject to the 15% on-premises tax. All alcoholic beverage sales to go or for delivery are subject to sales tax. 

All this talk of driving around with alcohol reminds us of Meat Loaf’s hit “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”

Well, I remember every little thing

As if it happened only yesterday

Parking by the lake and there was not another car in sight

It is possible that the state will declare a tax holiday, but at this time, make sure you are paying your sales and liquor by the drink taxes as they come due. There is personal liability for these taxes and you do not want to be personally liable.

For the record, liquor and grocery stores do not pay the 15% tax on wine and spirits. They do pay sales tax.

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