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District of Columbia Consumer Tax Laws

Taxes are inevitable, particularly if you enjoy public resources such as public education, police forces, highways, emergency response teams, and other programs we rely on. Most, but not all states levy a tax on personal income, while all states have some sort of a tax on certain consumer goods. Even states that lack a retail sales tax have excise taxes on such consumer goods as gasoline, cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages (also known as "sin" taxes). While taxes on cigarettes and alcohol are generally meant to discourage the use of those products, gasoline tax helps pay for road maintenance.

Washington, D.C. Consumer Taxes at a Glance

Just as in most other jurisdictions, the District of Columbia levies a tax on retail sales, cigarettes, beer, and other goods. The sales tax rate in D.C. is 5.75 percent (as of 2015); the cigarette tax is $2.50 per pack; and gasoline is taxed at a rate of 41.9 cents per gallon. As far as alcoholic beverages are concerned, beer is taxed at $2.79 per barrel, wine is taxed at 30 cents per gallons; and spirits (hard liquor) are taxed at a rate of $1.50 per gallon.

The current rates for consumer taxes in Washington, D.C. are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Tax Law section for more articles and resources.

Sales Tax 5.75% §47-2002
Cigarette Tax $2.50 per pack of 20 cigarettes §47-2402
Gasoline Tax per Gallon 41.9¢ per gallon (including 18.4¢ federal tax) §47-2301
Use Tax 5.75% §47-2202
Liquor Tax Beer $2.79 per barrel; Wine <14% 30¢ /gal, >14% 40¢ per gal.; Sparkling wine 45¢/gal.; Spirits $1.50/gal. §§25-124, 138
Gambling Tax N/A (calculated as taxable income for personal income tax purposes)

Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation, higher court decisions, and other means. We strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, but you also may want to contact a District of Columbia consumer law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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