What do distributors need to do?

  1. Register for payment of the tax as a distributor (registration opens November 2016). You are encouraged to register no later than December 31st, 2016, to avoid any disruptions or additional costs.
  2. Your customers should provide you notice that you must remit the tax on their orders intended for retail sale in Philadelphia. This notice will be either their Pennsylvania Sales Tax Exemption form noting a Philadelphia location, or an alternative form provided by the Philadelphia Department of Revenue.
    This notification should occur at least once per year or whenever a new business relationship starts. If you do not hear from a dealer, and they operate in the City of Philadelphia, please contact them to make sure they’re aware of their obligations.
  3. After receiving notification from dealers, you’ll need to provide confirmation to them. This confirmation may be either: (a) on the invoice from the distributor to the dealer; or (b) on the alternative form provided by the Philadelphia Department of Revenue.
  4. You’ll need to include the volume of sweetened beverages (and, for syrups and other concentrates, the amount of finished product based on the manufacturer’s instructions) distributed or the amount of the tax on every invoice to a Philadelphia dealer. Materials and language to help communicate with your customers about these changes are available below.
  5. The tax will be due by the 20th of each month for the prior month. Your first payment will be due on February 20, 2017, for the full month of January. Access the filing and payment portal .
  6. Review information about covered beverages and transactions. If you’re reading this or suspect you may be liable for the tax, you most likely are. Please review the regulations to determine which of the products that you distribute, if any, are subject to the Philly Bev Tax.

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.