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Last Updated: 6/26/2015

Fermented Malt Beverage Excise Tax

Who must file and pay the Fermented Malt Beverage Excise Tax?

Wholesalers, importers, and brewers of fermented malt beverages must file a Malt Beverages Excise Tax Return or Excise Tax Return for Brewers and pay the tax due. The tax rate is based on the alcohol content per the table below.

Alcohol Content Tax Rate (per 31 Gallon Barrel)
More than ​3.2 percent ​$4.60
​3.2 percent or less $2.40

Fermented malt beverage

A "fermented malt beverage" is any beer, ale, or other beverage that is both:

  • made from malt by fermentation; and

  • has an alcohol content, by volume, of at least 0.5 percent (one-half of 1 percent).

Flavored malt beverage

A “flavored malt beverage” is any fermented malt beverage that meets either of the following definitions:

  • It contains 6 percent or less alcohol by volume and derives at least 51 percent of its alcohol content from the fermentation of grain-derived carbohydrates. (That is, 49 percent or less of the beverage’s overall alcohol content comes from flavors or other added ingredients that contain alcohol.)

  • It contains more than 6 percent alcohol by volume and 1.5 percent or less of its overall alcohol content comes from flavors and other ingredients that contain alcohol.

Note: Flavored malt beverages do not include cider or alcoholic beverages that are obtained primarily by the fermentation of rice (such as sake).

When are the return and payment due?

You must file a return and pay the tax liability by the 18th of the month for the previous month's sales. You must file even if you had no sales to report.

If your tax averages less than $500 or more per month, you may request a quarterly or annual filing schedule. For more information, see the instructions for the Malt Beverages Excise Tax Return or the Excise Tax Return for Brewers (links below).

If your alcohol tax liability was $250,000 or more during a fiscal year ending June 30, you must accelerate your June liability for the next year. (See Alcohol Accelerated Payment.)

How do I file?

You can file

What are my payment options?

You can pay this tax:

  • Electronically through e-Services, by debit or credit card, or by ACH credit (for details, see Make a Payment)

  • By check using a payment voucher, unless your business is required to pay electronically

Note: You cannot pay by check if your business is required to pay electronically.  For details, see Electronic Payment Requirements for Business. If you don’t pay electronically when required, a 5 percent “payment method penalty” applies to any payments you make by check . For example, if you pay $1,000 by check, you’ll be charged a penalty of $50.00.

What is the Brewer Credit?

Brewers who produce less than 250,000 barrels of fermented malt beverage in a calendar year qualify for the Brewer Credit. This credit is taken against their excise tax and worth up to $115,000 per year. For more information, see Brewer Credit.