The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Local Alcohol Taxes

Reference Number: MTAS-535
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: October 19, 2015
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Local Wholesale Beer Tax
Wholesale beer deliveries to retail outlets in a city or county are taxed at 17 percent of wholesale prices (excluding state and federal privilege taxes levied after May 3, 1983). The tax is paid by each beer wholesaler directly to the city or county, and monthly sales reports are made to the state Department of Revenue and to each city and county. A city should check that tax payments are being received from beer wholesalers serving the area based on deliveries to all retail beer outlets in the city. An investigation by the Department of Revenue may be requested if there is doubt about administration of the tax. T.C.A. §§ 57-6-101–118. For a period of 15 years, a newly annexed area or newly incorporated city gives the county the same amount of wholesale beer tax it was collecting on the date of incorporation. T.C.A. § 57-6-103.

Local Mixed-Drink Tax
Cities that have passed a liquor-by-the-drink referendum may levy and collect a local privilege tax from businesses selling alcohol for on-premises consumption based on the schedule provided in T.C.A. § 57-4-301(b)(2).

Retail Liquor License Inspection Fees
Cities may levy inspection fees on retail liquor licensees based on wholesale liquor prices. The fees may not exceed 8 percent in counties with a population of less than 60,000 and in counties where premier tourist resort cities are located, or 5 percent in other counties. Populations are to be taken from the most recent federal census. T.C.A. § 57-3-501.