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Sweetened beverage tax

Seattle’s sweetened beverage tax goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, and the Seattle Restaurant Alliance has prepared a fact sheet with information and resources to help you understand your responsibilities regarding this new tax.

As you use the fact sheet on the sweetened beverage tax (SBT), you’ll learn, among other things, who is responsible for paying the tax and how it is calculated. Key aspects to note include the following:

The tax is imposed on and collected at the distributor level.

A restaurant operator will only be responsible for remitting the tax if the operator purchases sweetened beverages or syrups outside of Seattle for resale within Seattle city limits. In this case, the operator is considered a self-distributor and must pay the tax.

The tax is on sweetened beverages and concentrates such as syrups used to create sweetened beverages. The tax on concentrates is based on the finished product and is calculated using the manufacturer’s instructions. In the absence of manufacturer’s instructions, it will be presumed that one ounce of syrup yields one 12-ounce beverage.

Distributors can, with documentation, recalculate rates for syrups that are used in non-standard ways and/or exempt products based on use. Foodservice operators will need to ask their distributors for their policies and practices in addressing non-standard uses.

Here are two ways to access the fact sheet:

Additional Resources

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