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Department of Taxation and Finance

Beverage container deposits

New York State's Returnable Container Act requires every deposit initiator to collect a five-cent deposit on beverage containers containing less than one gallon of carbonated soft drinks, beer, malt beverages, wine coolers, or water sold in New York.

Information

A deposit initiator is the first bottler, distributor, dealer, or agent to collect the deposit on a beverage container sold in New York State. You're a deposit initiator if you:

  • Bottle beverages in beverage containers with an established deposit.
  • Distribute beverages in beverage containers with an established deposit and you did not purchase the containers from a registered deposit initiator.
  • Sell beverages in beverage containers and you did not purchase the containers from a registered deposit initiator. 
  • Act as an agent on behalf of a registered deposit initiator.

If you're a deposit initiator you must:

  • Register online as a deposit initiator before you make any sales
  • Establish a refund value account
  • Keep track of all deposits that you collect
  • File quarterly reports and remit 80% of unclaimed deposits to the Tax Department online

You must establish a refund value account to hold the deposits for all beverage containers you sell and to reimburse customers on beverage containers they redeem. You will use this account to prepare and electronically file your beverage container report for each quarter, and to transfer unclaimed deposits to the Tax Department.

To calculate the refund value account balance at the close of the quarter:

The beginning balance in your refund value account at the start of the quarter should be zero, and your closing balance at the end of each quarter should equal (A + B) - (C + D).

  1. Deposits received during the quarter 
  2. Interest credited to the account during the quarter 
  3. Deposits paid out during the quarter for containers redeemed
  4. Service charges charged to the account

At the end of the quarter, you must pay 80% of the balance in your account to the Tax Department. You can withdraw the deposit amounts redeemed by customers during the quarter. You can also withdraw the remaining 20% for your own use to reduce your account balance to zero. You may not make any other payments, including the handling fee that must be paid to a dealer or redemption center, from the account.

You must register and file returns online. Follow the step-by-step beverage container deposit initiator online registration instructions, below. You cannot register or file using paper forms.

To register:

Step 1: Create an Online Services business account. (If your business already has an account, log in and skip to Step 2.)

  • Gather the information that you’ll need to create an account.
    • If your business files corporation, sales, or withholding tax returns, you’ll need to have copies of recently filed returns for each of the tax types filed.
  • Create an Online Services business account.
  • Choose the Business Registration button and select “gain access to all services.”

Step 2: Register as a beverage container deposit initiator.

  • After you log in to your Online Services account, select the Beverage Container Registration link.
  • You’ll need to provide contact information, details about your refund value account (bank routing and account numbers), and your collection start date.
  • Once you’ve successfully registered, go to the confirmation page and print out your Deposit Initiator Registration Certificate.

Once you’re registered: 

  • You must use your Online Services account to electronically file quarterly reports and make payments.
  • To file and pay, log in to your account and select Beverage Container Web File.
  • Quarterly reports and payments are due within 20 days of the end of each quarter. See Beverage Container Web File - Helpful Information.

Reporting periods and due dates
Quarter Due Date
March 1 - May 31 June 20
June 1 - August 31 September 20
September 1 - November 30 December 20
December 1 - February 28 (29)      March 20

Deposit initiators could be subject to penalties if they fail to comply with the law in any of these ways:

Penalties
If you: The penalty is:
fail to register $500 per day on which sales or offers for sale are made, up to $25,000
fail to file beverage container reports, make quarterly payments, or maintain required accounts or records $1,000 for each quarter the failure occurs and an additional $1,000 for each quarter the failure continues

If you made an error on your quarterly report and it results in an overpayment:

If you paid out more in redemptions than you collected in deposits during a quarter (a shortfall in the refund value account):

See helpful information for refund claims for a list of documentation that you need to submit to support your claim.

Updated: