Table Of Contents

General Information

Malt Beverage

General Description:

The malt beverage tax is levied on malt or brewed beverages manufactured and sold for use in Pennsylvania, or manufactured outside of Pennsylvania but sold for importation and use in Pennsylvania.The tax is borne by the consumer, but manufacturers, distributors and importers remit the tax to the Commonwealth.

Manufacturers must file reports and submit payments by the 15th day of each month for the preceding month.For the purpose of verifying tax payments, every transporter for hire, bailee for hire, warehouseman and distributor also must submit reports by the 15th of the month for the preceding month.

Certain manufacturers of malt or brewed beverages are permitted a credit for “qualifying capital expenditures”, defined as purchases of plant, machinery, or equipment for use in the Commonwealth.The annual credit per manufacturer is equal to the amount of qualifying capital expenditures in the reporting year or $200,000, whichever is less.This credit applies to purchases made through December 31, 2003.The credit is limited to taxpayers whose annual production of malt or brewed beverages does not exceed 300,000 barrels.

The malt beverage tax rates are as follows:

Standard Fraction   Rate
1 barrel   $ 2.48
1/2 barrel   $ 1.24
50liter   $ 1.06
12 gallon   $ 0.96
1/4 barrel   $ 0.62
1/6 barrel   $ 0.42
1/8 barrel   $ 0.32
160 ounce   $ 0.10
4 liter   $ 0.09
1 gallon   $ 0.08
2 liter   $ 0.05
4 0ounce   $ 0.03
1 quart   $ 0.02
2 5ounce   $ 0.02
1 pint   $ 0.01
1/2 pint   $ 0.0066

These rates have remained unchanged since 1947.Prior to 1947, malt beverage tax rates were one-half the current rate.

The enabling legislation is Article XX of the Tax Reform Code of 1971 (P.L. 6, No. 2), as amended.

The distribution of liquor is a state enterprise under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB).

The Commonwealth assumed the liquor control responsibility following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

All liquors sold by the LCB are subject to this tax which is computed on the actual price paid by the consumer including mark-up, handling charge and federal tax.The first sale of liquor also is subject to the sales and use tax at the time of purchase.

The LCB periodically transmits reports and payments to the Department of Revenue.

The tax is imposed at the following rates:

Year   Rate
1936   10.0%
1963   15.0%
1968   18.0%

Enabling legislation is the Liquor Code, Act of June 29, 1987 (P.L. 32) 47 P.S. §§ 1-101 et seq.

Emergency Liquor Sales Tax Act, Act of June 9, 1936 (Special Session, P.L. 13) 47 P.S. §§ 794 et seq.

FACT & Information Line:

The Department has a toll-free line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service features forms ordering by fax or mail, and a telephone bulletin board that provides answers to frequently asked questions. The telephone numbers for the FACT & Information are 1-888-PA TAXES (1-888-728-2937) nationwide or (717) 772-9739 within the local Harrisburg Area.