Alcohol-Specific State Revenue

Jason Blanchette filed this request with the Department of Revenue of Massachusetts.
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Completed

Communications

From: Jason Blanchette

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, ยง10, I hereby request the following records:

Please provide the amount of state revenue collected from alcohol-specific taxes, fees, and other charges, related to legally conducting alcohol business such as sales, production, transportation, or importation of alcohol. Please provide an itemized list (or documents that provide such information) of the amounts collected for each of those taxes, fees, and other charges, and please provide that information for the following years: 2010, 2011, and the most recent year (e.g., 2014) for which data are available. An example of alcohol-specific revenue would include all revenue collected from the alcohol excise tax according to MGL Chapter 138 Section 21. Alcohol licensing fees would also be included if those fees are charged only for licensing that involves alcohol, such as for the sale, production, transportation, or importation of alcohol. Please do not include revenue collected from taxes, fees, and other charges if those taxes, fees, and other charges are ever applied to business not involving alcohol. Please do not include revenue collected from sources not involving the conduction of alcohol business. For example, do not include revenue from fines collected from alcohol consumers convicted of breaking alcohol laws. Please do not include fines or other charges that result from penalties for illegal conduction of business.

If the Department of Revenue has accurately calculated, or can accurately calculate, the amount of revenue collected from alcohol sales during the year 2010 from the tax specified in MGL Chapter 64h Section 2, please provide that amount. If the amount is unable to be accurately calculated and if the Department of Revenue has produced any documents estimating the amount that was collected then please provide such document(s).

If the Department of Revenue has accurately calculated, or can accurately calculate, the amount of revenue collected from alcohol service, during the year 2010, 2011, and/or the most recent year (e.g., 2014) for which data are available, from the tax specified in Regulation 830 CMR 64H.6.5, please provide that amount. If the amount is unable to be accurately calculated and if the Department of Revenue has produced any documents estimating the amount that was collected then please provide such document(s).

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jason Blanchette

From: Toomey, Joyce M.

To: Jason Blanchette
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 16693
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Dear Mr. Blanchette:

Your Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") request regarding alcohol-specific state revenue, sent to Maryann Merigan on March 14, 2015 has been referred to me for response. Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c. 66, s. 10, you hereby request the following records:
(1) "Please provide the amount of state revenue collected from alcohol-specific taxes, fees, and other charges, related to legally conducting alcohol business such as sales, production, transportation, or importation of alcohol. Please provide an itemized list (or documents that provide such information) of the amounts collected for each of those taxes, fees, and other charges, and please provide that information for the following years: 2010, 2011, and the most recent year (e.g., 2014) for which data are available. An example of alcohol-specific revenue would include all revenue collected from the alcohol excise tax according to MGL Chapter 138 Section 21. Alcohol licensing fees would also be included if those fees are charged only for licensing that involves alcohol, such as for the sale, production, transportation, or importation of alcohol. Please do not include revenue collected from taxes, fees, and other charges if those taxes, fees, and other charges are ever applied to business not involving alcohol. Please do not include revenue collected from sources not involving the conduction of alcohol business. For example, do not include revenue from fines collected from alcohol consumers convicted of breaking alcohol laws. Please do not include fines or other charges that result from penalties for illegal conduction of business."
Answer: Your request for information on alcohol-specific revenues collected according to MGL Chapter 138 Section 21 can be found in the published Blue Book reports available through the DOR website at http://www.mass.gov/dor/tax-professionals/news-and-reports/blue-book.html. These reports represent a monthly report of collections and refunds and include state taxes and other revenues collected by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Attached as an example is the report for December, 2014 where you will find the total monthly revenues collected for alcoholic beverages under MGL Chapter 138 Section 21 at the top of page 4. Please note that the year-to-date figures reported on page 5 of the attached example represent fiscal year-to-date figures rather than calendar year-to-date.
(2) "If the Department of Revenue has accurately calculated, or can accurately calculate, the amount of revenue collected from alcohol sales during the year 2010 from the tax specified in MGL Chapter 64h Section 2, please provide that amount. If the amount is unable to be accurately calculated and if the Department of Revenue has produced any documents estimating the amount that was collected then please provide such document(s)."
Answer: You requested the amount of revenue collected from alcohol sales during the year 2010 from the tax specified in MGL Chapter 64h Section 2. Alcoholic beverages were briefly subjected to the state sales tax from August 1, 2009, until repealed by voter referendum effective January 1, 2011, (please see TIR 10-24<http://www.mass.gov/dor/businesses/help-and-resources/legal-library/tirs/tirs-by-years/2010-releases/tir-10-24-repeal-of-sales-tax-on-alcoholic.html>). The Department of Revenue estimated collections from sales tax on alcoholic beverages sold at package/liquor stores during that time period to be $177.6 million.
(3) "If the Department of Revenue has accurately calculated, or can accurately calculate, the amount of revenue collected from alcohol service, during the year 2010, 2011, and/or the most recent year (e.g., 2014) for which data are available, from the tax specified in Regulation 830 CMR 64H.6.5, please provide that amount. If the amount is unable to be accurately calculated and if the Department of Revenue has produced any documents estimating the amount that was collected then please provide such document(s)."
Answer: You asked if the Department of Revenue has accurately calculated, or can accurately calculate, the amount of revenue collected from alcohol service, during the year 2010, 2011, and/or the most recent year (e.g., 2014) for which data are available, from the tax specified in Regulation 830 CMR 64H.6.5. Sales of alcohol, according to Regulation 830 CMR 64H.6.5, are not reported separately but instead are included in sales tax on meals and reported on page 4 of the attached Blue Book report under "Sales and Use: Meals."
(4) "I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage."
Answer: Since this response refers to a link to public information, there will be no fee charged.
If you have trouble accessing the information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Very truly yours,

Joyce M. Toomey
Joyce M. Toomey, Tax Counsel
Litigation Bureau - Disclosure
Massachusetts Department of Revenue
100 Cambridge Street, 7th Floor
P.O. Box 9565
Boston, MA 02114-9565
(617) 626-2967
FAX (617) 626-3245
mailto:toomey@dor.state.ma.us

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From: Department of Revenue

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Department of Revenue

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

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