Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax

By Meaghan Wingbermuehle

Last Thursday, a judge dismissed the temporary restraining order on Cook County’s beverage tax and the tax goes into effect tomorrow, August 2, 2017. The Sweetened Beverage Tax (SBT) requires retailers to review their current inventory, on which the tax was not previously paid, and calculate the tax to remit the first installment to the County by September 20, 2017. After that date, retailers or distributors (depending on who charges the tax) will need to submit the tax by the 20th of the month following the taxable month.

The tax rate is $.01 per ounce on the retail sale of all sweetened beverages in Cook County. This tax applies to beverages in bottles and cans as well as sweetened beverages produced from syrups and powders used in machines or mixed by hand (fountain drinks).

As an example from the Cook County Government website, a 5 gallon bag of syrup that will make 3,840 ounces of beverage, at a tax rate of $.01 per ounce, will be required to collect $38.40 in tax. For more information on application of the tax, including reductions for spillage and exclusions, please visit the Cook County Government’s Sweetened Beverage Tax page on their website.

Distributors and retailers that qualify to register as distributors must be registered with the Cook County Department. For more information on registering, and to download a form, visit the Department’s website at

How DHJJ Can Help

If you have questions on how this affects your business, please contact our State and Local Tax Team and DHJJ by calling Meaghan Wingbermuehle at 630-420-1360 or emailing her at

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