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Department of Taxation and Finance

Opioid excise tax

Effective July 1, 2019, there is an excise tax imposed on the first sale of an opioid unit in New York State by a registrant.

What is a first sale?

A first sale is any transfer of title to an opioid unit for consideration where actual or constructive possession of such opioid unit is transferred by a registrant holding title to such opioid unit to a purchaser or its designee in this state for the first time.

A first sale does not include either:

  • the dispensing of an opioid unit pursuant to a prescription to an ultimate consumer, or
  • the transfer of title to an opioid unit from a manufacturer in this state to a purchaser outside this state when such opioid unit will be used or consumed outside this state.

It is presumed that every sale of an opioid by a registrant within or into this state is the first sale unless it is established otherwise. The burden of proving that a sale does not qualify as a first sale is on the registrant.

Who is considered a registrant?

Registrant means any person, firm, corporation, or association that holds and transfers title to an opioid unit and:

  • is required to register with the New York State Department of Health as a manufacturer or distributor of a controlled substance; or
  • is required to register with the New York State Department of Education (NYS DOE) as a wholesaler, manufacturer, or outsourcing facility; or
  • is a nonresident establishment excepted from registration with the NYS DOE under NYS Education Law § 6808-b(2).

Tax rates

There are two tax rates:

  • a quarter of a cent ($.0025) on each morphine milligram equivalent for opioids with a wholesale acquisition cost of less than $0.50 per unit
  • one and one-half cent ($.015) on each morphine milligram equivalent for opioids with a wholesale acquisition cost of $0.50 or more per unit

Information

Updated: