of the sale price of an alcoholic beverage
Who pays the tax
The Liquor Tax applies to sales of liquor, wine, or malt and brewed beverages in Philadelphia. A seller is any business or person with a Pennsylvania-issued license or permit to sell or dispense alcohol. This includes, but is not limited to:
This tax does not apply to liquor stores and beer distributors.
Liquor Tax is technically paid by retail customers at the point of sale. However, the seller is responsible for paying the tax monthly, and filing on a quarterly basis.
If you are starting a new business in Philadelphia, and need to register for a new Liquor Tax account:
- Go to https://tax-services.phila.gov.
- Select the “Register a new taxpayer” link, under the panel New taxpayers.
- Follow the on-screen prompts to create a login and register for a Liquor Tax account.
Liquor Tax must be paid by the 25th day of each month for the previous month’s activity. Anyone who collects Liquor Tax must also file quarterly returns. Electronic payment and filing is mandatory through the Philadelphia Tax Center for this tax.
If you are filing this tax late for 2021, or for prior years, file an annual return.
Tax rates, penalties, & fees
How much is it?
The City’s Liquor Tax rate is 10% of the sale price of an alcoholic beverage.
What happens if you don't pay on time?
If you don’t pay on time, interest and penalties will be added to the amount you owe.
The interest rate for unpaid Liquor Tax is ½ % (.005) per month.
In addition, unpaid Liquor Tax may be subject to penalties and fees.
In addition, your Commercial Activity License or permit could be suspended or revoked.
Discounts & exemptions
Are you eligible for a discount?
No discounts are available for the Liquor Tax.
Can you be excused from paying the tax?
Certain alcohol sales are exempt from the Liquor Tax. These exemptions include:
- Sales from Pennsylvania Liquor Stores (e.g., Wine & Spirits, Fine Wine & Good Spirits).
- Sales from malt beverage distributors.
- Retail sales that are subject to Pennsylvania’s Sales and Use Tax.
Pennsylvania’s Sales and Use tax is imposed on many retail sales. Learn more about taxable goods and services in the Sales, Use and Hotel Occupancy Tax section of the Commonwealth website.
How to pay
Pay and file online
To pay your monthly Liquor Tax on the Philadelphia Tax Center:
- Log in with a username and password, or
- Pay as a guest without logging in (see the Payments panel on the homepage).
You can no longer pay Liquor Tax by mail.
You must file quarterly returns for Liquor Tax starting in 2022. The first filing due date in the new schedule was May 2, 2022 (for the January – March period). In the past, returns were filed annually.
To file quarterly returns:
- Log in to your account on the Philadelphia Tax Center.
- Find your Liquor Tax account in the Summary page.
- Select the “File, view, or amend returns” link.