Increase Tax/Implement User’s Fee. Like many products, the price of alcohol affects consumption, which has a direct impact on alcohol-related consequences. Research indicates that higher alcohol taxes lead to a reduction in drinking and heavy drinking, lower traffic fatality rates and some types of crime. One of the most effective ways to increase the price of alcohol is by increasing the tax on alcohol.
In North Dakota, tax rates are imposed according to the following schedule:
- Beer in bulk containers $.08 (.021 per liter) per wine gallon
- Beer in bottles and cans $.16 (.042 per liter) per wine gallon
- Wine, including sparkling wine, containing less than 17% alcohol per volume .52 (.132 per liter) per wine gallon
- Wine containing 17%-24% alcohol by volume .60 (.159 per liter) per wine gallon
- Distilled spirits 2.50 (.66 per liter) per wine gallon
- Alcohol 5.04 (1.07 per liter) per wine gallon
(N.D.C.C. §5-03-07 - Imposition of Tax Rate, 2013)
What is this strategy?
These interventions increase the price of alcohol products through municipal, state, or federal legislation that raises the excise tax on alcohol. Alcohol excise taxes affect the price of alcohol and are intended to reduce alcohol-related harms, raise revenue, or both. Alcohol taxes are implemented at the state and federal levels, and are beverage-specific (i.e., they differ for beer, wine and spirits). These taxes are usually based on the amount of beverage purchased (not on the sales price), so their effects can erode over time due to inflation if they are not adjusted regularly (Guide to Community Preventive Services, 2007). Such increases make the use of alcohol products less attractive to young people who have limited incomes and a variety of ways to spend their money (Guide to Community Preventive Services, 2007).
When should I consider implementing this strategy?
- Alcohol taxes haven’t increased at the same rate as inflation.
- Retailers are selling alcohol at a low price.
- Adults (and youth) are reporting early initiation of alcohol use.
- Adults are overconsuming alcohol (binge drinking).
How do I implement this strategy?
Key Activities for Implementation:
- Determine current tax rates on alcohol and how they are levied.
- Analyze what the tax rate should be.
- Compile data and evidence to support an alcohol tax increase.
- Build support.
"Alcohol tax increase linked to drop in harm from drunk driving” (Article, The Baltimore Sun)