By Bob Katzen
Bill (S 1565) – Reduces the tax on hard cider. Under current law, the tax on cider and other beverages that contain between 3 percent and 6 percent alcohol is 3 cents per gallon. The tax on anything that contains more than 6 percent per gallon is 70 cents per gallon, the same rate as champagne.
The bill would apply the 70 cents per gallon tax only to drinks that contain more than 8.5 percent alcohol. Most hard ciders contain only up to 8 percent alcohol and would be taxed at the lower rate of 3 cents per gallon.
Supporters say current law unfairly treats and taxes hard cider at the same rate as champagne. They noted the reduction will help the Bay State compete with neighboring states which have lowered the tax. They argue that the change would also put Massachusetts in line with the federal tax on hard cider which was reduced effective January 1.
The Revenue Committee gave the same proposal a favorable report last year but the Legislature took no further action.