Alcoholic Beverages Tax Rates for
Wine Coolers and Cider
PURPOSE: This Policy Statement describes changes in the Department's policy on the proper classification of cider containing alcohol and wine coolers under the definitions in Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-433 for purposes of the imposition of the alcoholic beverages tax under §12-435.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This Policy Statement is effective for all sales by distributors of cider containing alcohol and wine coolers occurring on or after November 1, 1996.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Conn. Gen. Stat. §§12-433 and 12-435.
CLASSIFICATIONS OF CIDER CONTAINING ALCOHOL: Cider that contains alcohol in any amount and that also contains carbonation in any amount (whether the carbonation is artificially injected or naturally occurring) is properly classified as sparkling wine for purposes of the Connecticut alcoholic beverages tax, irrespective of its classification for federal excise tax purposes, or for any other purpose. The rate of tax for sparkling wines, including alcoholic cider containing any amount of carbonation, is $1.50 per wine gallon, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-435(d). Previously, some cider products containing alcohol and carbonation may have been taxed at a lower rate or may not have been subjected to the alcoholic beverages tax.
Cider that does not contain carbonation, regardless of its alcohol content, does not come within the definition of either still wine or sparkling wine in Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-433, and is therefore not subject to alcoholic beverages tax. Previously, some cider products containing alcohol but containing no carbonation may have been subjected to the alcoholic beverages tax.
CLASSIFICATION OF WINE COOLERS: Wine coolers that contain alcohol in any amount and that also contain carbonation in any amount (whether the carbonation is artificially injected or naturally occurring) are properly classified as sparkling wines for purposes of the alcoholic beverages tax, irrespective of their classification for federal excise tax purposes, or for any other purpose. The rate of tax for sparkling wines, including wine coolers containing any amount of carbonation, is $1.50 per wine gallon, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-435(d). Previously, wine coolers may have been taxed at a lower rate.
DISTRIBUTOR'S LICENSE REQUIRED: Any person who imports into this state and sells wine coolers or cider containing alcohol and carbonation, or who manufactures or processes such products within this state, is subject to Chapter 220 of the Connecticut General Statutes, including the requirement that such person obtain the license required by Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-436.
REGISTRATION WITH LIQUOR CONTROL DIVISION REQUIRED: The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, Division of Liquor Control, advises that anyone shipping alcoholic beverages (including any wine cooler or cider containing alcohol and carbonation) into the State of Connecticut should be aware that the product must be registered with the Division of Liquor Control and shipped through a licensed out-of-state shipper to a licensed Connecticut wholesaler.
Any questions about this procedure should be directed to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, Division of Liquor Control at 860-566-5926.
EFFECT ON OTHER DOCUMENTS: Any written advice from the Department contrary to the information in this Policy Statement regarding either the classifications of cider and wine coolers or the alcoholic beverages tax rates for such products is superseded, and may not be relied upon on or after the effective date of this Policy Statement.
EFFECT OF THIS DOCUMENT: A Policy Statement is a document that explains in depth a current Department policy or practice affecting the liability of taxpayers. Unlike a Ruling, a Policy Statement does not apply a policy or practice to a specific set of facts, but it may be referred to for general guidance by taxpayers. Unlike a Special Notice, it does not announce a new policy or practice in response to changes in state or federal laws or regulations, or to judicial decisions.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: For further information about changes described in this Policy Statement, call the Audit Division Excise Field Unit, at 860-541-3224.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING NEW INFORMATION ABOUT DRS.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: To order forms and publications or for further information, call the Department of Revenue Services at 860-297-5962 (Hartford area or out-of-state) or 1-800-382-9463 (in-state). Forms and publications may be ordered through voice-mail 24-hours a day by choosing Option 3 on your touch tone telephone.
Electronic Delivery Options: You can also obtain tax forms and publications 24-hours a day from our Web home page at http://www.ct.gov/drs. Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD/TT) users only call 860-297-4911 during business hours.
Alcoholic Beverages Tax