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Department of Taxation and Finance

Importation for personal consumption

If you import or cause to be imported beer, cider, wine, or liquor (other than small amounts; see Traveler’s exemption ) into New York State for your personal use, you are responsible for paying New York State’s excise tax. In certain circumstances, you must obtain a temporary license or register with the Tax Department before importing liquor into New York State. 

  • Individuals importing more than one quart of beer, wine, or cider per month, and less than 90 liters of liquor during a one-year period, from outside the U.S. for personal consumption and not for resale, are required to file Form MT-39, Alcoholic Beverages Tax Clearance Return For Tax on Importation of Alcoholic Beverages into New York State for Personal Consumption, and pay any tax due before importing or removing the alcoholic beverages from the entry seaport or airport. 
  • Individuals who import (or cause to be imported) beer, wine or cider into New York State from another state in the U.S. for personal use are noncommercial importers and are required to file the appropriate ABT return and pay any tax due. See Filing returns and paying tax.
    • A person purchasing wine for their personal use from an out-of-state direct wine shipper is not required to file a tax return as a noncommercial importer if they only purchase wine for their personal use from an out-of-state direct wine shipper.
  • Individuals who import (or cause to be imported) more than 90 liters, but not more than 360 liters, of liquor into New York State from outside the U.S. for personal use must obtain a Temporary License to Import Liquors for Personal Use and Consumption before importing the liquor by filing Form MT-39, Alcoholic Beverages Tax Clearance Return For Tax on Importation of Alcoholic Beverages into New York State for Personal Consumption and completing Schedule C, Application for temporary license to import liquors for personal use and consumption.
  • Individuals who import (or cause to be imported) more than 90 liters, but not more than 360 liters, of liquor into New York State from another state in the U.S. for personal use, must file Form TP-125, Application for Temporary License to Import Liquors for Personal Use and Consumption, before importing the liquor, and file the appropriate ABT return and pay any tax due. See Filing returns and paying tax.
  • Individuals who import (or cause to be imported) more than 360 liters of liquor into New York State for personal use must register as a distributor of alcoholic beverages, and file the appropriate ABT return and pay any tax due. See Licensing and registration requirements and Filing returns and paying tax.

Traveler's exemption

  • If you are a traveler returning from a visit outside New York State, you may bring up to one quart (or one liter, if not subject to U.S. import duties) of alcoholic beverages exempt from the ABT if the alcoholic beverage was:
    • purchased outside New York State as part of the purchaser’s travel; and
    • intended for personal use and not for resale or for use for any commercial purpose.
  • If you are a traveler arriving from American Samoa, Guam, or the US Virgin Islands, you must meet the criteria established above, but you are allowed one gallon (or four liters, if not subject to US import duties) of alcoholic beverages.

Note: To qualify for the traveler’s exemption if you are traveling from anywhere outside of the United States (including the District of Columbia), the US Virgin Islands, or a contiguous country maintaining a free zone or free port, you must have remained outside the United States for a period of at least 48 hours.

Filing returns and paying tax

You must file a tax return only for those periods in which you import alcoholic beverages.

Beginning with monthly returns for tax period December 1 – December 31, 2020, and annual returns for tax period January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020, due on January 20, 2021, file the new consolidated ABT return, Form MT-456, Alcoholic Beverages Tax Return.

Returns due for monthly tax periods prior to December 2020, and annual returns due for tax periods prior to January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020:

Noncommercial importers of beer: File Form MT-50, Beer Tax Return, on or before the 20th day after the month you imported beer into New York State.

Noncommercial importers of cider: File Form MT-60, Cider Tax Return, on or before January 20th of the year after you imported cider into New York State.

Noncommercial importers of wine: File Form MT-40, Return of Tax on Wines, Liquors, Alcohol, and Distilled or Rectified Spirits, on or before the 20th day after the month you imported wine into New York State.

Individuals importing liquor: File Form MT-40, Return of Tax on Wines, Liquors, Alcohol, and Distilled or Rectified Spirits, on or before the 20th day after the month you imported liquor into New York State.

Individuals importing alcoholic beverages while returning from a trip outside of the U.S.: File Form MT-39, Alcoholic Beverages Tax Clearance Return For Tax on Importation of Alcoholic Beverages into New York State for Personal Consumption.  See Traveler’s Exemption.

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