"Sin" Tax Revenue

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.

10. Washington

Seattle

Total sin tax revenue: $821.7 million

Change from 2011: -0.7%

Alcohol: $349.2 million

Tobacco: $470.8 million

Betting: $1,734

9. Illinois

Chicago

Total sin tax revenue: $892.9 million

Change from 2011: 3.4%

Alcohol: $279.3 million

Tobacco: $606.4 million

Betting: $7,212

8. Florida

Orlando

Total sin tax revenue: $917.9 million

Change from 2011: -4.8%

Alcohol: $527 million

Tobacco: $381.5 million

Betting: $9,360

7. New Jersey

Atlantic City

Total sin tax revenue: $927.4 million

Change from 2011: 0.8%

Alcohol: $919.9 million

Tobacco: $135.3 million

Betting: $0

6. Ohio

Columbus

Total sin tax revenue: $948.4 million

Change from 2011: -0.9%

Alcohol: $98.1 million

Tobacco: $843.2 million

Betting: $7,122

5. Michigan

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

Betting: $4,982

4. California

San Francisco

Total sin tax revenue: $1.26 billion

Change from 2011: 0.4%

Alcohol: $346 million

Tobacco: $895.7 million

Betting: $15,838

3. Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh. Copyright Sean Pavone Photo.

Total sin tax revenue: $1.5 billion

Change from 2011: 0.6%

Alcohol: $324 million

Tobacco: $1.12 billion

Betting: $14,820

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

Betting: $22,361

1. Texas

Dallas

Total sin tax revenue: $2.4 billion

Change from 2011: 1.4%

Alcohol: $937.6 million

Tobacco: $1.5 billion

Betting: $7,142