Spending bill includes federal hard cider tax relief

December 18, 2015

Congress has approved a spending bill that includes an overhaul on how hard cider is taxed.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the measure as part of the so-called tax extenders bill approved Thursday, Dec. 17; the U.S. Senate approved it Dec. 18 as part of a combined tax and government-funding bill.

Under current federal law, depending upon its alcoholic content hard cider can be taxed at the same rate as wine, $1.07 per gallon – and depending upon its carbonation, it can be taxed at the even higher champagne rate of $3.30 per gallon. The CIDER Act provision included in the tax extender bill changes the definition of hard cider to tax it at $.23 per gallon, equivalent to beer.

The House and Senate bills included language from bills introduced in both chambers earlier this year to level the playing field regarding how hard cider is taxed relative to other alcoholic beverages such as champagne, wine and beer. New York’s U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) had introduced the “Cider Investment and Development through Excise Tax Reduction (CIDER) Act of 2015” with five bipartisan cosponsors in May.

New York’s U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.-27) had introduced similar bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives in January with Oregon’s Rep. Earl Blumenauer.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.