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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 $.05 deposit on beverage containers containing less than one gallon of carbonated soft drinks, beer, malt beverages, wine coolers or water, sold in New York.

Deposit initiator

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.

Requirements for deposit initiators:

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

Your refund value account

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).

A. Deposits received during the quarter
B. Interest credited to the account during the quarter
C. Deposits paid out during the quarter for containers redeemed
D. 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 use the refund value account to pay the handling charges authorized by law.

How to register and file electronically

You must register and file returns online. Create an Online Services account if you haven't already done so. Once you have an account, follow the step-by-step beverage container deposit initiator online registration instructions. You cannot register or file using paper forms.

Once you've registered, log in to Online Services to electronically file and make a payment within 20 days after the end of each quarter.  See Beverage Container Web File - Helpful Information.

Reporting periods and due dates

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:

  • failure to file beverage container reports,
  • failure to make quarterly payments, or
  • failure to maintain required accounts or records.

Penalties can be up to $1,000 for each quarter the failure occurs and an additional $1,000 for each quarter the failure continues. If you can establish that the failure was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, the Tax Department will cancel the penalties.

Claiming a refund

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.

For more information