Authority. T.C.A. §§ 57-6-101 through 57-6-118.
Description. This is a state-levied tax on the sale of beer and similar alcoholic beverages of not more than eight percent (8%) alcoholic content by weight, wine excepted, at wholesale. T.C.A. § 57-6-102.
Rate. Thirty-five dollars and sixty cents ($35.60) per barrel of thirty-one gallons (31 gals.) of beer sold. Barrels containing more or less than thirty-one gallons (31 gals.) shall be taxed at a proportionate rate. T.C.A. § 57-6-103(a).
Distribution. The tax collected is distributed to the county or municipality of the retailer's place of business, less ninety-two cents (92¢) of the gross tax owed per barrel retained by the wholesaler or manufacturer operating as a retailer and seventeen cents (17¢) of the gross tax owed per barrel remitted to the Department of Revenue for administration of the tax. The tax is remitted to the municipality if retailer's place of business is within the city's or town's boundary; otherwise, the tax is remitted to the county of the retailer's place of business. T.C.A. § 57-6-103.
In 1998, the General Assembly passed Public Chapter 1101, which was a major reform of the annexation and incorporation laws having a great impact upon the way the wholesale beer tax is distributed among cities and counties. T.C.A. § 6-51-115. It included a "hold harmless" provision to protect county revenue sources. When a city annexes territory or a new city incorporates, revenue amounts generated in that area by the wholesale beer tax that had been received by the county prior to the annexation or incorporation continue to go to the county for 15 years after the date of the annexation or incorporation. During that time, any increase in the situs based portion of the revenues generated in the area would be distributed to the annexing or incorporating municipality. If commercial activity in the annexed area decreases due to business closures or relocations, a city may petition the Department of Revenue to adjust the payments it makes to the county.