Alcoholic beverages tax (ABT): Sales and distribution
As a distributor of alcoholic beverages, you are responsible for paying New York State's excise tax on alcoholic beverages (beer, cider, wine, and liquor) when you sell or use these beverages within New York State. An additional tax is due on sales of liquor (including wine) over 24% alcohol by volume (abv), and beer, sold or used in New York City.
Sales of warehouse receipts given upon the storage of alcoholic beverages are not considered sales of those beverages.
If you are an out-of-state wine manufacturer, you can legally ship limited quantities of wine directly to eligible consumers in New York.
Before making sales in New York State, you must register with both the New York State Tax Department (Tax Department) and New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) as a direct wine shipper. See Licensing and registration requirements.
If you are issued a Certificate of Authority for sales tax but are not issued a direct shipper’s license by the SLA, and you do not want to remain registered as a New York State sales tax vendor, you must file a final sales and use tax return and surrender your Certificate of Authority.
As a distributor of alcoholic beverages, you must file returns and pay the ABT on the quantity of product you sell in New York State on a monthly basis. For information on filing requirements, see Filing returns and paying tax.
Under certain circumstances, registered distributors can purchase alcoholic beverages from another registered distributor, without the payment of the ABT. Form TP-218, Exemption for Alcoholic Beverages Interdistributor Transactions, can be used when purchasing alcoholic beverages:
- for resale, or
- that will be used by a business that is engaged in rectifying, distilling, blending, or fortifying.
You will then be responsible to remit any ABT due when the alcoholic beverages are sold.
- the United States government or its agencies or instrumentalities (including voluntary unincorporated organizations of any branch of the armed forces of the United States that are operating places for the sale of goods) if the
- beverages are used exclusively for governmental functions or sold to authorized purchasers;
- diplomatic missions and diplomatic personnel, if the beverages are for use and not for resale;
- the United Nations (UN), if the beverages are for official use within the UN facilities;
- a church, synagogue, or religious organization. The purchaser must give the distributor a signed, written statement. This statement must include the organization’s name, address, and declaration that it is a recognized church,
- synagogue, or religious organization, and that the wine purchased is solely for sacramental use in its facilities.
Note: Sales you make to any state (including New York State) and its political subdivisions are not exempt from the ABT.
Sales by certain holders of SLA licenses and permits
If you hold a class A, B, or C alcohol distributor’s permit, you may sell alcohol for non-beverage use exempt from tax to a holder of:
- an industrial alcohol permit (class A, B or C)
- an alcohol permit (class A, B, or C)
- an alcohol distributor’s permit of any class (class A)
- a class C alcohol distributor’s permit (class B)
Use by certain holders of SLA license and permits
If you hold a class C alcohol distributor’s permit, you may use alcohol exempt from tax in the manufacture of non-beverage products.
If you hold an industrial alcohol permit or hold an alcohol permit, you may use alcohol exempt from tax for non-beverage purposes.
Alcoholic beverages you remove from inventory to give away at tasting events held in accordance with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law under the SLA are not subject to the ABT.
Alcoholic beverages you sell or give away at tasting events may have requirements under the Sales Tax Law. For more information on alcoholic beverages used at tastings, see Tax Bulletin Alcoholic Beverage Producers in New York State (TB-ST-15).
When you sell alcoholic beverages, you must give the purchaser an invoice at the time of the delivery, and it must include the following information:
- identifying invoice serial number;
- your name and licensed premises’ address;
- your current SLA license number, and if registered as a distributor, your tax registration number;
- address of the premises from which the liquor was removed, if different from your address;
- purchaser’s name and licensed premises’ address;
- purchaser’s current SLA license number, if applicable;
- sale date and delivery date, if different;
- delivery address, if different from the address of the purchaser’s licensed premise;
- size and number of bottles of liquor sold, including brand name and price;
- certification of tax (see below); and
- date and signature certifying the correctness of the invoice.
Certification of payment of tax
You must certify on each invoice that the New York State ABT, and the New York City ABT (if applicable), have been assumed or paid by a registered distributor, are being charged to the purchaser and will be remitted, or is not due because the sale is exempt from the tax, along with the reason for the exemption.
If you purchase alcoholic beverages and don’t receive a properly completed invoice from the seller at the time of delivery, you must:
pay the New York State ABT, and
if applicable, pay the New York City ABT on the purchase.
The Tax Department will presume that the New York State ABT and, if applicable, the New York City ABT, have not been paid if:
- the seller does not furnish a properly completed invoice at the time of delivery, or
- a person in possession of alcoholic beverages does not have a properly completed invoice, or
- a copy of a properly completed TP-218, Exemption for Alcoholic Beverages Interdistributor Transactions, has been received.
You and the seller must keep copies of the invoice for three years.
Wholesalers of alcoholic beverages in New York State must file an annual information report.
If you are a wholesaler of alcoholic beverages in New York State, you must file an annual information report if:
- you are an alcoholic beverages wholesaler licensed by the SLA; and
- you sold any alcoholic beverages during the period covered by the return without collecting sales tax (other than a sale made to an exempt organization or to another alcoholic beverages wholesaler whose license does not permit it to make retail sales of alcoholic beverages).
If you are transporting more than 90 liters of liquor within New York State, you must keep records of these beverages.
You must have in your possession:
- a completed New York State Form MT-132, Manifest Form for Liquors; or
- a manifest in a different format (for example, an invoice) approved by the Tax Department.
You must complete the manifest document prior to transporting liquors in New York State and must be consecutively numbered. In addition, it must contain the following information:
- transporter’s name, address, federal EIN, and SLA license number;
- vehicle description and vehicle identification number (VIN);
- name, address, and SLA license number, where applicable, of the person from whom the liquor was received;
- quantity of liquor received;
- date, time, and place the liquor was received;
- delivery recipient’s name, address, and where applicable, SLA license number;
- place and approximate time of each delivery;
- quantity of liquor delivered to each person; and
- name, address, SLA license number, and tax registration number of the registered distributor importing the liquor (or causing it to be imported) into New York State.
If a vehicle is subject to multiple loadings, or if you make multiple deliveries, a transporter may:
- complete a separate manifest for the liquors loaded or delivered at each location or site;
- make separate entries for each loading or delivery on one manifest document;
- attach multiple sections of the part of the manifest that contains the circumstances of each loading or delivery; or
- attach invoices that contain all the information required relating to the circumstances of each loading or delivery.
For either of the above options, each section or invoice must contain the number of the manifest document to which it is attached.
After the liquor is loaded, if there are any changes to the inventory contained on the manifest, and you know of the changes, you must immediately amend the manifest to reflect the changes.
Lack of a manifest document gives rise to a presumption the liquor is being imported into New York State for sale or use by a person who is not a registered distributor. However, the presumption may be rebutted if you can show evidence to the contrary.
Additionally, if the manifest document does not include the place of delivery or name of a registered distributor, it will be presumed the liquor is imported for sale or use within the state by a person who is not a registered distributor.
How long must I keep these records?
You must keep the manifest document and any records to verify the entries for a minimum of three years from the end of the month when the liquor was delivered. You must make the records available to the Tax Department upon request. The Tax Department may require you to keep records for a longer period, such as when the records are the subject of an audit, court case, or other proceeding.