DC Proposal Would Retroactively Change Effective Date for Alcohol Tax Increase

October 10, 2011

A bill was introduced in the D.C. Council today that would retroactively change the effective date of the tax hike on alcohol passed this June.

Back on June 29, 2011, the mayor of the District of Columbia signed into law the FY 2012 Emergency Budget Support Act, which among other provisions, issued a one percent rate increase on alcohol for off-premise consumption. This tax hike, which would raise the rate on alcohol from 9 percent to 10 percent, was set to take effect on July 1, 2011, just two days after the act was signed.

The Office of Tax and Revenue issued the following statement to placate the concerns of liquor stores across the District:

The Office of Tax and Revenue recognizes that this is short notice for this tax rate change.  Vendors are expected to make this change effective as soon as possible.  To avoid liability for a brief period of inability to change to the new 10 percent tax rate, vendors must be able to demonstrate a good faith effort was made to implement the new tax rate promptly.

Today, however, a bill was introduced to the council which would retroactively change the implementation date of the tax from July 1 to October 1, which was nine days ago.

Interestingly, no changes in the bill mention whether the District is planning on returning the revenue they have already collected. Perhaps none was collected, and this is the reason for the change, but I'd be willing to bet that least one liquor store out there was able to "implement the new tax rate promptly" and there is now a pile of money in limbo that belongs to D.C. taxpayers.

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