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Letter | Just how much tax is there on hard liquor?
This was our first purchase of hard liquor in Washington. The taxes mount up one on top of another. We have taxes on taxes.
The sales slip said it all. The register sales slip listed all the taxes, but it took some research to find out what went where. The Department of Revenue’s tax calculators don’t include everything.
There’s not only taxes for “spirits” but also on volume. Vodka cost us $10.99 for 1.75 liters and had an additional “county” tax. The county tax included a liter tax of $3.7708 per liter. The liter tax was listed under the county tax.
Here’s the tax breakdown:
Basic tax rates of 15 percent and 10 percent are the first ones applied. I think this is considered in determining the markup allowed by the Liquor Control Board — 65 percent of that goes into the state’s general fund; 35 percent is returned to the cities and counties based on population distribution.
Adding the 15 percent and the 10 percent together, it comes to 25 percent and yet only 20.5 percent taken from consumers is accounted for, unless the liter tax is expected to make up the difference. The basic tax rate for consumers is 20.5 percent, or is it 25 percent?
The basic price is determined by the State Liquor Control Board, which marks up the price. I’m not sure if the 15 percent and 10 percent apply to the price before or after the rate is applied.
Or is it 25 percent? I’m not sure of the markup criteria. Twenty percent is returned to the counties; 80 percent to the cities. Both amounts are returned by prorating the cities’ and counties’ populations.
Adding to the basic price is a 13.7 percent sales tax to subsidize restaurant licensing cost. A surtax of 2.1 percent and 1.4 percent goes to the state’s general fund.
It’s added along with the basic tax rate that goes into the state’s general fund. The tax rip-off doesn’t stop there. Additional rates of 3.4 percent and 2.3 percent are applied for health services.
So the cost on a $10.99 bottle of liquor was $19.85. It amounts to an 80 percent additional administrative cost for a bottle of liquor, yet they still complain they don’t have enough money to balance the budget.