City Announces Preliminary Collections of $6.4 Million
for Philly Bev Tax in March
Collections from the first two months of the tax total $12.3 million
PHILADELPHIA- The Department of Revenue announced today that the City of Philadelphia has received $6.4 million dollars in collections for the second month of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, slightly exceeding revenue projections for February.
Revenue officials stressed that this is a preliminary figure and may change. The payments were due by March 20th for the distribution of sweetened beverages during the month of February.
Collections from the first two months of the Philly Bev Tax total $12.3 million. This includes $5.9 million for collections for the distribution of sweetened beverages in January, revised up from the preliminary total of $5.7 million. Collections of the PBT are expected to fluctuate throughout the year because of seasonal changes in consumption due to events, holidays, and weather. Similar patterns are seen with the City’s Liquor and Amusement Taxes.
The projection for a full year of the Philly Bev Tax is more than $91 million. The City remains confident of reaching its fiscal year (FY17) goal of $46 million, covering six months (January-June 2017) of beverage distribution.
In the meantime, the Department of Revenue continues its outreach to distributors and dealers affected by the tax. Tax administrators are listening, and sharing information:
- Street teams have so far visited more than 5,000 retailers to answer questions, deliver information, and provide materials to help them talk about the Philly Bev Tax with their customers.
- The Department launched a multi-lingual website for dealers, distributors, tax professionals, and consumers.
- Revenue officials have held weekly conference calls that businesses could dial into.
- Officials presented at business associations and community organizations, and launched email newsletters.
This outreach has afforded businesses an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns about the tax and the vital programs that it funds.
“Ultimately, the businesses of Philadelphia need customers and employees,” said Mayor Kenney. “And the investments from the PBT will make sure Philadelphia has a talented workforce by starting with quality education for the young, and by ensuring that Philadelphia is a place where people want to live, work, and shop.”
The outreach also allowed dealers a chance to learn about efforts and incentives offered by the City to help their businesses. For example, through the Department of Commerce, the City offers several programs that can be beneficial to grocery stores and similar establishments, including the InStore Forgivable Loan Program and Business Security Camera Program. Both initiatives enable existing business to make improvements to their establishments.
In addition, grocers are continuing to benefit from ongoing reductions of the City’s Wage and Business Income and Receipts Tax. Beginning in tax year 2016, there is an exemption of the first $100,000 in gross receipts and a proportionate share of net income from the Business Income and Receipts Tax. As a result, approximately 60,000 businesses no longer have a BIRT tax liability.
Revenue from the Philly Bev Tax will be used to make much needed investments in pre-K and community schools as well as in Philadelphia parks, rec centers, and libraries. When the programs are fully implemented, 97 percent of the revenue will go toward the programs. The remaining 3 percent will support the Healthy Beverages Tax Credit and the cost of collecting the tax. More information on the programs at http://www.phillybevtax.com/Consumers/Where-The-Money-Goes.
The Philadelphia Beverage Tax is a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on the distribution of sweetened beverages, as well as syrups and concentrates used to make sweetened beverages that became effective January 1, 2017. Tax returns for the Philly Bev Tax are due monthly, on the 20th of the month for the prior month’s activity.