Administrative Procedure

Administrative Procedure  AP 115: Alcoholic Beverage Excise Tax: G.L. c. 138, s. 21, as amended

Date: 01/23/2024
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Filing Requirements:  All winegrowers, all farmer-brewers and all wholesalers of alcoholic beverages licensed in Massachusetts must file Forms AB-1, AB-1F (also known as Schedule F) and AB 4-5.  Forms AB-1F and AB 4-5 are part of Form AB-1 which must be filed on or before the 20th day of each month for purchases of malt beverages and sales of all other alcoholic beverages in the previous month.  Form AB-1 must be filed even if no tax is due.  All suppliers or importers who ship alcoholic beverages into Massachusetts must file Form AB-10 on or before the 20th day of each month.  Effective January 1, 2014, the Department no longer requires taxpayers to furnish a bond.  Out-of-state wineries licensed as Direct Wine Shippers in Massachusetts that sell directly to Massachusetts consumers must file Form AB-DS on or before the 20th day of each month for sales in the previous month.

Payment:  Payment must accompany Form AB-1 and Form AB-DS.  For those with total annual payments in excess of $5,000 must make payments electronically through MTC.  Failure to make electronic payments may result in a penalty per G.L. c. 62C, § 33(g).  For those not required to make electronic payments, the payment must be included with the monthly return.  Make the check or money order for the exact amount payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Extensions of Time to File:  For good cause, the Commissioner may grant a reasonable extension of time for filing a return.  Requests must be in writing to the address below.  Failure to pay 80% of the tax required to be paid on or before the due date for payment of tax will void any extension of time to file and the return will be subject to penalty as a late return.  See 830 CMR 62C.19.1.

Rate of Tax: The rate per gallon (or fractional part) is as follows:

Malt Beverages:


$3.30/31 gal. bbl.

Still Wine, including Vermouth:


$.55/wine gallon

Champagne and all other sparkling Wines:


$.70/wine gallon

Alcoholic Beverages, other than Malt Beverages, Wine and Vermouth, containing 15% or less of Alcohol by volume at 60 degrees Fahrenheit:


$1.10/wine gallon

Alcohol Beverages containing more than 15% of Alcohol but not more than 50% of Alcohol by volume at 60 degrees Fahrenheit:


$4.05/wine gallon

Alcoholic Beverages containing more than 50% of Alcohol by volume at 60 degrees Fahrenheit:


$4.05/proof gallon
Alcohol sold in containers of one gallon or less:

$4.05/proof gallon


Cider containing more than 3% but not more than 8.5% of Alcohol by volume at 60 degrees Fahrenheit: $.03/wine gallon

Exemptions/Deductions: The following are exempt from alcoholic beverages tax: (1) sales of wine to be used for religious purposes; (2) sales outside of Massachusetts; (3) sales to the military; (4) sales to airlines; (5) alcoholic beverages lost due to breakage or officially reported theft; (6) All sales or inventory reductions from other than a sale, (for example: breakage, disposal, non-taxable transfer or use for sampling and tastings) must be reported with tax paid prior to taking a deduction.  If the tax has not been previously paid, you may not take a deduction on Form AB-1, Schedule F.

Exemptions must be reported on Form AB-1F (also known as Schedule F).

There is no tax under this chapter on alcohol sold for scientific, chemical, medical or certain other purposes if sold in containers greater in capacity than one wine gallon, or on "absolute alcohol" for listed purposes sold in any container.  G.L. c. 138, § 21(g).

Contract Brewing: All contract brewing transactions must be reported on the supporting schedule of Form AB-1 return.  The transactions should be indicated on each individual invoice recording the following information: invoice number, date of transaction, name of company, license number, amount of gallons and tax paid on those gallons.

Interest and Penalties:  If returns are not properly filed, interest and penalties may be assessed.  As of January 1, 1993, the Massachusetts interest rate is based on the federal short‑term rate plus four percentage points, compounded daily.  G.L. c. 62C, § 32, as amended.  For more information on calculation of interest, see regulation 830 CMR 62C.33.1, TIR 92-6 and TIR quarterly rate updates.  The penalty for late filing is 1%/month or fraction thereof, not to exceed 25% of the amount due; the penalty for late payment is 1%/month for each month or fraction thereof not to exceed 25% of the amount due.

See TIR 99-18 regarding waiver of G.L. c. 62C, § 33(c) late‑pay penalties and suspension or involuntary collection activities under G.L. c. 62C, § 32(e) when the taxpayer disputes the assessment (or any portion thereof) administratively within DOR or with the Appellate Tax Board or Probate Court.

Amended Returns:  To adjust information reported on a prior return, a taxpayer must file an amended return with DOR.  An amended return must be filed to increase previously reported tax; to decrease previously reported tax; to report an increase to tax resulting from a federal or state change; to report a decrease resulting from a federal or state change and to make amendments that have no net effect on tax Most taxpayers are required to amend their returns electronically using MTC.  Taxpayers filing amended returns on paper will manually complete the same form as used for the original or prior amended return, whichever is filed later, and check the box indicating that the return is an amended.  See AP 605 Amending Tax Returns for more details.

Refunds:  Not applicable

Abatements:  Alcohol wholesalers may apply for an abatement on Form ABT, handled by the Customer Service Bureau.  See AP 627, Applications for Abatement for more details.

Billing:  If the complete payment is not included with the return and/or the return is late, the taxpayer will be billed for any amount due, plus interest and/or penalties.

Changing Information or Status:  Changes should be made electronically through MTC.  A taxpayer who does not have access to MTC may submit changes in writing to the address given below.

For more information related to auditing, reporting and other useful references please visit:

The mailing address of the Alcoholic Beverages Excise Unit is:

Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Excises Unit, Alcoholic Beverages Tax Section
P.O. Box 7012
Boston, MA 02204
(617) 887-6367


G.L. c. 62C,
§§ 32, 32(e), 33(c)
G.L. c. 138,
§§ 21, 21(g)
830 CMR 62C.19.1
830 CMR 62C.33.1
TIR 92-6
Form AB-1, Alcoholic Beverages Excise Return
Form AB-1F, Schedule F – Deductions
Form AB-4-5, Rectifier’s Report of Alcoholic Beverages Received from Bottling
Form AB-10, Report of Alcoholic Beverages Shipped into Massachusetts
Form AB-DS, Alcoholic Beverages Excise Return-Direct Shipment to Massachusetts
Form ABT, Application for Abatement – Amended Return

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