Beverage Container FAQs

What beverages are taxed?

Beverages subject to this tax include but are not limited to:

  • Beer, ale, or other malt beverage;
  • Distilled spirits;
  • Wine, wine cooler, or other wine product;
  • Fruit drinks with less than 10% natural juice;
  • Ready-to-drink tea;
  • Soda water, carbonated water, natural or artificial mineral water, or natural or spring water;
  • Soft drinks include cola, ginger ale, root beer, sarsaparilla, or any other carbonated or un-carbonated beverage commonly known as a “soft drink.”

What drinks are excluded from the tax?

  • All 2 liter or larger containers are exempt from tax.
  • Dairy products
  • Non-dairy milk substitutes such as soy milk, hazelnut milk, other nuts, rice, or other grain milk
  • Beverages containing at least 10% natural fruit juice

When does the tax start?

The tax is imposed on all beverages delivered to dealers after July 24, 2010. Beverages delivered after July 24, 2010, and before August 1st are payable to the City by the 25th of August. Tax payments are to be made monthly and are due on or before the 25th day following the month in which the drinks are delivered.

Who pays the tax?

The beverage distributor pays the tax.

What if I am a distributor who buys from the Coke or Pepsi distributor, who pays the tax?

The distributor who delivers the product to the retailer is liable for the tax.

Does this tax include fountain drinks?


I am a citizen and I was charged a beverage tax by a retailer, is this permissible?

No, retailers should not be charging a beverage container tax on their sales. You should report this to Baltimore City Revenue Collections at (410) 361-9690.

I am a retailer; do I need to be concerned?

Yes, you should ensure that the distributor provides you with a certification that they are responsible for payment of appropriate beverage container tax. Without the distributor certification, the retailer is liable for the tax.

What happens if I don’t pay the tax?

Failing to pay the tax imposed when due will result in a 10% penalty of the amount of tax due and a 1% per month interest charge for each month or fraction thereof that the tax is overdue. Unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties are a lien on the property of any person liable for the payment. Additionally, a person who violates any provision of this law, rule, or regulation may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction, subjected to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment of not more than 12 months or both.