Legislation and Regulation

If you have clients who are either distributors or dealers of sweetened beverages within the City of Philadelphia, you’ll want to know what’s required of them so that you can accurately file on their behalf.

Your clients who are distributors of sweetened beverages will need to register for payment of the tax.

Your clients who are dealers of sweetened beverages may need to register for payment of the tax themselves, if they choose not to purchase from a registered distributor. Most dealers will simply need to notify their distributors and retain their records and invoices.

Click on one or both of the above links to learn more about each classification, and about the Philly Bev Tax as a whole.


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.