Some states are bringing in a lot of revenue from so-called "sin" taxes, raking in up to $2.4 billion in 2012. Although these taxes can add up to big bucks for states, sometimes Americans forget or don't realize they're paying them.
Some states are bringing in a lot of revenue from so-called “sin” taxes, raking in up to $2.4 billion in 2012, according to data.
These taxes add up to millions for some states and billions in others, and sometimes Americans don’t even realize that they’re paying them. The AICPA named cigarette and alcohol taxes among the most common but overlooked taxes.
Smokers not only pay a federal tax, but a state tax as well, which can be anywhere from mere pennies to $4 and change. As for alcohol, states tax beers, wine and spirits per gallon and the cost can vary great. In Washington the tax on spirits is $26.45, but just 26 cents for beer, according to the Tax Foundation.
During the height of the recession a large number of states reported increasing the cigarette tax (14 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico). However, since 2009, that was on the decline.
A Bloomberg list ranked states based on the 2012 U.S. Census survey of State Government Tax Collections from sales and gross receipts for alcohol, tobacco and pari-mutuels.
Wyoming reported the least revenue from “sin” taxes with just $27.8 million in 2012. And although it didn’t take the top spot, New York made the most from tobacco products ($1.6 billion) and from pari-mutuels ($22,361). (Pari-mutuels include tax revenue measured by amounts wagered or bet on such activities as horseracing, dog racing and Jai-alai and excludes taxes on racetrack admissions and licenses.)
Here are the 10 states that receive the most money from sin taxes.
Total sin tax revenue: $821.7 million
Change from 2011: -0.7%
Alcohol: $349.2 million
Tobacco: $470.8 million
Total sin tax revenue: $892.9 million
Change from 2011: 3.4%
Alcohol: $279.3 million
Tobacco: $606.4 million
Total sin tax revenue: $917.9 million
Change from 2011: -4.8%
Alcohol: $527 million
Tobacco: $381.5 million
7. New Jersey
Total sin tax revenue: $927.4 million
Change from 2011: 0.8%
Alcohol: $919.9 million
Tobacco: $135.3 million
Total sin tax revenue: $948.4 million
Change from 2011: -0.9%
Alcohol: $98.1 million
Tobacco: $843.2 million
Detroit as seen from Ontario. Copyright Shawn Wilson.
Total sin tax revenue: $1.1 billion
Change from 2011: -1.8%
Alcohol: $149.2 million
Tobacco: $951.3 million
Total sin tax revenue: $1.26 billion
Change from 2011: 0.4%
Alcohol: $346 million
Tobacco: $895.7 million
Pittsburgh. Copyright Sean Pavone Photo.
Total sin tax revenue: $1.5 billion
Change from 2011: 0.6%
Alcohol: $324 million
Tobacco: $1.12 billion
2. New York
Brownstones in Brooklyn
Total sin tax revenue: $1.89 billion
Change from 2011: 1.5%
Alcohol: $238.9 million
Tobacco: $1.6 billion
Total sin tax revenue: $2.4 billion
Change from 2011: 1.4%
Alcohol: $937.6 million
Tobacco: $1.5 billion