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Sin Tax: A Levy On Alcohol and Cigarettes


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You know what? I never even questioned it. Did Virginia add some clause to the interstate shipment of wine law passed last year?

Edited to add. I just spoke with that store and when this went before the Supreme Court, the court gave states the right to charge state tax on this? New Hampshire is also charging the tax.

I think you need to distiguish between sales tax and liquor tax. Sales tax is a lot more complex because in a lot of state it the tax rate varies depending on where you live within the state. Liquor taxes generally at taxed at one statewide rate. But I'll look at the Sidenburg case again with an eye to the tax issue.

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I think you need to distiguish between sales tax and liquor tax.  Sales tax is a lot more complex because in a lot of state it the tax rate varies depending on where you live within the state.  Liquor taxes generally at taxed at one statewide rate.  But I'll look at the Sidenburg case again with an eye to the tax issue.

Yep, that's why I am paying you the big bucks. Thank you Mr. Gastreaux. :)

Edited by RaisaB
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I was just told by both them and Sparrow Wines that in order to ship to a VA address they have to charge sales tax. Actually, I don't know if they are charging VA or NJ tax! In any event this seems to allow VA shipment. I've bought from CA (Woodland Hills) and was not charged tax. On the other hand I've been on Leonetti's mailing list for 13 or 14 years and they still will NOT ship to VA. They ship to a friend's address in D. C. where I pick it up. I hope this April will be different. Anyway....

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I think you need to distiguish between sales tax and liquor tax.  Sales tax is a lot more complex because in a lot of state it the tax rate varies depending on where you live within the state.  Liquor taxes generally at taxed at one statewide rate.  But I'll look at the Sidenburg case again with an eye to the tax issue.

N.B. for Jacques and anyone else who wants to do some good old-fashioned legal research, the case name is Swedenburg.

The Swedenburg Winery joins Ollie's Barbecue (Katzenbach v. McClung) and Maurice's Piggie Park (Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises), among others, in the "food and drink" section of Supreme Court jurisprudence.

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N.B. for Jacques and anyone else who wants to do some good old-fashioned legal research, the case name is Swedenburg.

The Swedenburg Winery joins Ollie's Barbecue (Katzenbach v. McClung) and Maurice's Piggie Park (Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises), among others, in the "food and drink" section of Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Actually, the case show up under Granholm v. Heald.

And wasn't there a case involving oleomargerine?

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Actually, the case show up under Granholm v. Heald.

And wasn't there a case involving oleomargerine?

It looks like Swedenburg v. Kelley was consolidated with Granholm v. Heald.

There's also the Bacchus Imports case in which a Hawaii liquor tax exemption for locally produced pineapple wine (yum!) was struck down.

For some light reading, try to find a book called "Coca-Cola Reports, vol. 1." It's nothing but opinions issued in trademark infringement cases brought by Coke back in the day. People would bottle stuff under names like Koka-Kola, Co-Cola, Caca-Cola, etc., and Coke had to sue them one by one. Each opinion is accompanied by a picture of the offending bottle.

Don't ask me how I found this classic.

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It looks like Swedenburg v. Kelley was consolidated with Granholm v. Heald.

There's also the Bacchus Imports case in which a Hawaii liquor tax exemption for locally produced pineapple wine (yum!) was struck down.

For some light reading, try to find a book called "Coca-Cola Reports, vol. 1." It's nothing but opinions issued in trademark infringement cases brought by Coke back in the day. People would bottle stuff under names like Koka-Kola, Co-Cola, Caca-Cola, etc., and Coke had to sue them one by one. Each opinion is accompanied by a picture of the offending bottle.

Don't ask me how I found this classic.

Virginia changed its law before the case was heard due to a Federal District Court decision. VA requires that any wine shipped into the state have a 5% sales tax, plus 30 cents per bottle, charged.

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Virginia changed its law before the case was heard due to a Federal District Court decision.  VA requires that any wine shipped into the state have a 5% sales tax, plus 30 cents per bottle, charged.

That would explain the sales tax, but I wonder if the 30 cents/bottle charge only applies to interstate shipments. If it does, then the Granholm case might prohibiit it.

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Thanks to the DuClaw Brewing blog for highlighting this piece of legislation.

The Maryland legislature is now considering HB 832, the "Lorraine Sheehan Health and Community Services Act of 2010", which seeks an approximately sevenfold increase in the state tax on liquor and wine, and roughly thirteenfold on beer. That's times, not percent. Proceeds would be earmarked for certain healthcare, alcohol and drug abuse programs.

The proposed rates appear to be calculated to produce a new 10 cent tax per drink, regardless of category.

The backers' rationale rests largely on a recent paper by professors Jernigan and Waters, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who analyzed the effects of raising Maryland's alcohol taxes under a variety of scenarios. Maryland's excise taxes on alcohol were last fixed in 1955 and 1972, but lacking inflation adjustments, the effective percentage rate has fallen considerably over the years.

Compared to Maryland's rates, the current national averages are approximately 3x for beer, 2x for wine, and 4.5x for spirits. The 7x and 13x rates proposed in HB 832 will catapult Maryland from having the 47th lowest excise rate to the absolute highest rates in the nation for beer and wine, and one of the highest for liquor (a number of control states have exceptionally high imputed rates for liquor; among states with explicit rates only Alaska's would be higher).

FYI.

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