What do dealers need to do?

  1. Starting January 1, 2017, Dealers will need to purchase sweetened beverages from a registered distributor. Distributor registration begins in November 2016. So now is a good time to start communicating with your current distributors, or to find distributors who are now (or who plan to be) registered for payment of the tax. Review this list of compliant distributors.
  2. Notify your distributors that you are located in Philadelphia and that they will need to pay the Philly Bev Tax on the products they supply to you. Use your PA Sales Tax Exemption Certificate (or download this alternative form provided by the Department of Revenue) as your notification.
  3. Keep track of your invoices. Once you have notified a registered distributor that you are located in Philadelphia, your invoice will show that your distributor paid the tax. You may be asked to provide those invoices to the Department of Revenue in the future to prove you purchased from a registered distributor.

What if a Dealer doesn’t want to (or can’t) purchase sweetened beverages from a registered distributor?

Sometimes it isn’t practical for a dealer to purchase all sweetened beverages from a registered distributor. A dealer can purchase sweetened beverages from an unregistered dealer, however the dealer must then register as a “Registered Dealer” through our registration site . Registered dealers have the same obligations to file and pay a Philly Bev Tax return as registered distributors.

Additionally, if a dealer is purchasing a particular sweetened beverages from a distributor that is not registered, for example from an online seller that is unregistered, the dealer is then responsible to remit the Philly Bev Tax on those products. In this case, the dealer should register as a “Special Dealer” through our registration site .


Dealers and distributors should understand which of the beverages they sell or distribute—or purchase for resale—are subject to taxation.

A sugar or artificially sweetened beverage is defined as any nonalcoholic beverage that lists any of the following as an ingredient:

  1. Any form of caloric sugar-based sweetener, including but not limited to sucrose, glucose, and high-fructose corn syrup. Caloric sweeteners also include sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type.
  2. Any form of sugar substitute or nonnutritive sweetener that causes humans to perceive sweetness in the absence of sugar, such as stevia, aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin.
  3. Any nonalcoholic syrup or other concentrate that is intended to be used in the preparation of a beverage that lists any of the above types of sweeteners as an ingredient.
Affected drinks include but are not limited to:
  • Sports drinks
  • Sweetened water
  • Energy drinks
  • Pre-sweetened coffees & teas
  • Nonalcoholic cocktail mixers
  • And more

Download the Philly Bev Tax regulations for detailed information about taxable products and taxable transactions, and how to file and pay.

Download the Council of the City of Philadelphia’s Sugar-sweetened Beverage Tax Bill.

Here is the printable quick guide from the toolkit you received.

Download Toolkit