Soft Drink Excise Taxes

Currently only West Virginia levies an excise tax on soft drinks and requires that soft drink packaging visibly indicate that the tax has been paid by the distributor. West Virginia law requires that an outline of the state be inscribed in a 1/4 inch circle on the can end. The State of West Virginia now allows soft drink distributors who are bonded in the state to ink-jet the tax information on the bottoms of cans. The product is in compliance if "WV1" is ink-jetted on the bottom regardless of the inscribed outline of the state. 

Although can manufacturers are not responsible for the payment of excise taxes levied on products packaged in cans, can makers must provide the necessary labeling that soft drink distributors need to remain in compliance with the soft drink excise tax laws. Because many labeling requirements stipulate that specific labeling, such as deposit information, be clearly marked on the can end, there is a limited amount of space available on the can end for other labeling purposes. This is particularly true as the industry moves to the use of smaller and smaller can ends in an effort to reduce the amount of material used in packaging.

An excise tax in Louisiana was repealed in March 1997. Obviously, the LTP label is no longer required on can ends of soft drinks sold in the State of Louisiana.

Updates with respect to beverage can labeling are periodically published by CMI as changes to the various laws occur.