Unlike sales of other types of tangible personal property and taxable services that are taxed at a 6% rate, the sales and use tax is imposed at a 9% rate on the taxable price of alcoholic beverages. The 9% rate on sales of alcoholic beverages replaces the 6% rate and is not in addition to that rate.

Licensed retailers can apply for a special Retail Off-Site Permit from the Comptroller's Office to sell wine produced by a Class 4 limited winery at a Farmer's Market listed with the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The permit must be issued to a licensed retailer authorized to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption off-premises, and whose license was issued by the local licensing board in the jurisdiction in which the Farmer's Market will be held.

Yes, retail receipts should be kept for two years or until audited. See Alcoholic Beverages Article 1-408.

State regulations do not require Catered Event Certificates to be kept for a certain length of time. A revolving calendar year should suffice. Check the regulations issued by your county liquor board.

Yes. Catering food requires a license from the county.

Yes. An alcohol catering license is needed if you plan to furnish alcoholic beverages. It is known as a Statewide Caterer (SCAT) License. See COMAR 03.02.01.18.

They are issued by the County Liquor Boards.

Yes, you must obtain a $50 Non-Beverage Class C Permit. See Tax General TG 2-101(c).

Yes, a Non-Beverage Class E Permit is required. However, there is no fee.

"Happy hour" is regulated by each county's liquor board.

Price filing is no longer required for any form of alcohol. Brand registration is required for beer only.

A wholesaler pays the tax if the beer is imported from another country. An out-of-state non-resident dealer (a.k.a. supplier) pays the tax if the beer is purchased by a Maryland wholesaler. See Tax General TG 5-102 and TG 5-105.

Beer: A beer manufacturer cannot require participation, but participation by the wholesaler is legal for beer. A manufacturer can charge the wholesaler extra for advertising their product, but they cannot make them pay it. See Alcoholic Beverages Article 5-104.

Wine and Distilled Spirits: These manufacturers cannot charge extra for advertising.

It is a system whereby alcohol is sold from the supplier to the wholesaler, from the wholesaler to the retailer, and from the retailer to the consumer.

The legislature enacts statutes. The Comptroller adopts, amends and repeals regulations under the authority granted by statutes, following the procedures in the Administrative Procedure Act.

Contact the General Accounting Division at 410-260-7813.

Business liability: 410-767-1908
Personal liability: 410-649-0633 (usually an income tax issue)
Personal property tax: Clerk of the Circuit Court (in the respective county)

IRS individual tax questions: 1-800-829-1040
IRS business tax questions: 1-800-829-4933
Web site: www.irs.gov

No. By statute, the 6% sales and use tax is imposed on a bracketed basis. The amount of tax due is determined by the sale price in relation to the statutorily imposed brackets. The amount of tax increases one cent from one bracket to the next with 6 cents due on each exact dollar. The 9% sales and use tax is a flat rate. This means that when the tax calculation results in an amount between two whole pennies, the tax is rounded off. The tax computation must be carried to the third decimal place, and the tax then must be rounded to a whole cent using a method that rounds up to the next cent whenever the third decimal place is greater than four, and rounds down whenever the third decimal place is less than or equal to four. For example, if the taxable price of the alcoholic beverage is $8.24 the tax would be $0.74 ($8.24 times 9% = $0.742). If the taxable price of the alcoholic beverage is $8.29 the tax would be $0.75 ($8.29 times 9% = $0.746).

You must report the tax you charged on sales of alcoholic beverages separately from the tax imposed on sales of other items. Effective July 2011, the sales and use tax return will include separate lines for tax imposed on sales at the 6% rate and tax imposed on sales at the 9% rate. The revised sales and use tax return will also have separate lines for reporting tax on purchases at each rate as well.

No. As of August 1, 2013, EFT ACH is no longer an option for reporting or submitting sales and use tax payments.

Taxpayers required to pay with immediately available funds can pay using direct debit by electronically filing for free via bFile; or can pay using a credit card by going online or by calling 1-800-2PAY-TAX (1-800-272-9829). If you are new to bFile, please verify that your financial institution will accept debit transactions.

The 9% rate applies to sales of alcoholic beverages as defined in Tax-General Article ยง5-101(b). This includes sales of beer, distilled spirits, and wine, as well as any beverage or cocktail that may contain a mixture of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic components, including an alcoholic mixed drink, a frozen alcoholic cocktail, an alcoholic coffee drink, and a gelatin shot containing an alcoholic beverage.

Yes. Only products that are fit for beverage purposes and contain one-half of 1% or more of alcohol by volume are subject to the 9% rate. Other products, such as cooking wine and cooking sherry, as well as vanilla and rum extracts and similar items, are not subject to the 9% tax as they are not intended for beverage purposes. There are many personal care products and cleaning products that contain alcohol as well; however, these items are not included in the definition of alcoholic beverage and therefore are not subject to tax at the 9% rate.

If you buy a mixed drink that contains both alcoholic and non-alcoholic components, the sale of that beverage will be subject to tax at the 9% rate. However, the 9% tax does not apply to the sale of a bottle of grenadine or similar flavoring or mixer on its own that does not contain one-half of 1% or more of alcohol by volume. Those sales are taxed at the 6% rate unless otherwise exempt.

Effect on sales by exempt organizations:
Sales of alcoholic beverages made by specific types of organizations listed in Tax General Article §11-204(b) are also exempt from the 9% tax on alcoholic beverages.

Effect on purchases by exempt organizations:
Maryland sales and use tax exemptions apply to all purchases for use by the exempt organization, regardless of the applicable tax rate. Therefore, your organization's purchases of alcoholic beverages made to carry on the organization's work are exempt from the 9% tax on alcoholic beverages.

* You can access the Maryland Code, including Tax-General Article, online.

The tax must be separately calculated on sales of alcoholic beverages at the 9% rate and on sales of food, non-alcoholic beverages, and other merchandise at the 6% rate. The 9% tax amount must be listed separately from the 6% tax amount on the bill of sale.

For sales made between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, if your sales include alcoholic beverages as well as other items, you must apportion the charge for the mandatory gratuity between the two categories. For example, if the total charge amounts to $300, and of that amount $200 is for sale of food and non-alcoholic beverages and $100 is for the sale of alcoholic beverages, then 2/3 of the amount of the gratuity is subject to the 6% tax rate and 1/3 is subject to the 9% tax rate. In this example, if the gratuity charged is $45, the 6% rate on the gratuity would be $1.80 (2/3 times $45 times 6% = $1.80) and the 9% rate on the gratuity would be $1.35 (1/3 times $45 times 9% = $1.35). The bill, therefore, would reflect total tax at 6% of $13.80 ($230 at 6%) and total tax at 9% of $10.35 ($115 at 9%).

Due to a 2012 law change, for sales made on and after July 1, 2012, charges for alcoholic beverages are subject to tax at the 9% rate and charges for mandatory gratuities are subject to the 6% rate regardless of whether the gratuities relate to sales of alcoholic beverages or sales of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

To make direct wine shipments to Maryland residents, the law requires that the vendor be issued a direct wine shippers permit and the vendor comply with existing tax laws, including the requirement to collect sales and use tax. Therefore, the vendor will be required to charge sales and use tax at the rate of 9% on sales of wine to Maryland residents. If the vendor imposes a separately stated shipping charge, that amount will not be subject to tax. However, if the shipping charge is not separately stated, or if the shipping charge includes a handling charge, whether that shipping and handling charge is separately stated or not, then the 9% rate will apply to the charge for the wine, and the 6% rate will apply to any other separately stated taxable charge made in connection that the sale of the wine.

Yes. An inbound freight charge is part of taxable price. If the inbound freight charge is imposed on the sale of an alcoholic beverage, then the vendor must collect tax on the price that includes the inbound freight charge, whether separately stated or not.

For separately stated inbound freight charges on sales made prior to July 1, 2012, the 9% rate applies to all charges, and for sales made on and after that date, the 9% rate will apply to the charge for the alcoholic beverage, and the 6% rate will apply to the charge for inbound freight.

You may apportion the sales price between the alcoholic beverages and the other merchandise and charge the 9% sales and use tax on the taxable price of the alcoholic beverages and the 6% sales and use tax on the price of the other items. If the basket includes non-taxable merchandise as well, and you allocate the sales price among the three categories of merchandise (alcoholic beverages, taxable merchandise, non-taxable merchandise), then you may exclude the non-taxable items from the taxable price. However, if you charge a lump-sum price for the gift basket, and you do not apportion the sales price among the categories of items, you must collect the sales and use tax at the higher 9% rate on the entire price of the basket.

For sales made prior to July 1, 2012, itemized charges for equipment, supplies and labor that are directly and predominantly related to the sales of alcoholic beverages should be taxed at the 9% rate. Itemized charges for equipment, supplies and labor that are directly and predominantly related to the sales of food and non-alcoholic beverages should be taxed at the 6% rate.

For sales made on and after July 1, 2012, itemized charges for alcoholic beverages are subject to tax at the 9% rate and all other charges are subject to tax at the 6% rate.

If you do not itemize your bill in the manner discussed in Question 15 and instead elect to bill a lump-sum price for the entire bill or per-person charge, you must charge the higher 9% tax rate on the entire bill.

Alcoholic beverage sales for specific events are subject to the 9% sales and use tax.

If the contract for the specific event is fully executed before July 1, 2011 and contains all material terms such as price, quantities, selections of food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and the names of the parties to the contract, the tax rate on the taxable price of alcoholic beverages is 6%.

If the contract for the specific event is fully executed on or after July 1, 2011, but prior to July 1, 2012, and it contains all material terms, such as price, quantities, selections of food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and the names of the parties to the contract, then the tax rate on the taxable price of alcoholic beverages is 9%.

If the contract for the specific event is fully executed on or after July 1, 2012, and contains all material terms such as price, quantities, selections of food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and the names of the parties to the contract, then the tax rate on the charge for the alcoholic beverages is 9% and the tax rate on all other charges is 6%.

The tax, whether at the rate of 6% or 9%, must be charged by the caterer at the time the contract is executed. The caterer must then report and pay the tax to the Comptroller by the required due date.

You must apportion your sales price between the taxable price of the alcoholic beverages and the taxable price of the food and non-alcoholic beverages and charge the tax accordingly. If you do not separately state the charges subject to the different rates, you must charge the higher 9% rate on the entire charge to the customer.

The cost of the meal and any other related taxable charges will be taxed at the 6% rate. You must pay the 9% sales and use tax rate on your purchase of any alcoholic beverages that are provided to customers at no charge.

That depends. If you pay a sales tax to the vendor in the state where you made the purchase and the rate of that tax is equal to or greater than the 9% rate, then you will not owe any additional tax when you bring the item into Maryland. However, if you are not charged a sales tax on your purchase, or if the amount of tax you pay is less than 9%, you will owe Maryland tax on the difference between the rate you paid to the other state and the 9% Maryland rate. You should also be aware that if you bring alcohol in excess of the quantity limitations specified in Tax-General Article §5-104(c) you will also owe the alcoholic beverage tax in addition to the sales and use tax.

Only the charge for the beer is subject to the 9% rate. Separately stated charges for rental of equipment are taxed at the 6% rate. If the equipment is not returned and you retain the deposit as payment for the equipment, the deposit will be considered to be the charge for the equipment and will be subject to tax at the 6% rate.

Because a sale that is subject to both sales and use tax and admissions and amusement tax is capped at 11%, you must charge the 9% sales and use tax on the sale of the alcoholic beverages, and apply the admissions and amusement tax to the gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages at a rate no higher than 2%, even if the jurisdiction normally imposes a higher rate. Your gross receipts from sales of food and non-alcoholic beverages that are taxed at a 6% sales and use tax rate are subject to admissions and amusement tax at a rate no higher than 5% due to the cap.

This will depend on whether the charge for entry is truly an "admission" charge as opposed to being a charge for the sale of the wine. If you are allowed entry to the venue without payment of any charge, and the only payment collected is from those who participate in the tastings, then the charge will be considered to be a sale of an alcoholic beverage and the 9% sales and use tax will apply. On the other hand, if everyone has to pay the admission in order to gain entry into the venue, regardless of whether they participate in the tastings or not, then the sales and use tax does not apply to the sale of admission tickets. However, depending on the jurisdiction, the gross receipts from the sale of the tickets may be subject to the admissions and amusements tax. In this case, the entities that are providing the wine tastings are considered to be the consumer of the products, and must pay the 9% tax on the cost of the wine.

The refillable containers (growlers) are tangible personal property and are subject to the 6% sales tax rate. The contents of the growler are subject to the 9% tax rate. If the customer is not purchasing the growler, there is no sales tax on a previously purchased refillable container. However, the 9% tax rate applies to the purchase of each refill of an alcoholic beverage.

You are considered to be the consumer of the food and drinks that you provide and you must pay any applicable sales and use tax on your cost of the food and beverage. You must pay the 9% sales and use tax on your purchase of any alcoholic beverages that are provided to customers at no charge. The gross receipts on your ticket sales may be subject to the admissions and amusement tax depending on where you are located.