Approved Texas bill charges consumers 8.25 percent tax on liquor drinks

July 30, 2013 4:21:50 PM PDT
As lawmakers prepare to stick it out for a third special session, it's work they accomplished in the regular session that could affect your restaurant tab. A new tax on mixed drinks will soon be tacked onto your bill.

A margarita on the rocks can come with salt, but starting next year, it'll definitely come with something else -- tax.

Of course, the tax won't really help you wash down a plate of tacos or enchiladas. Currently, a state sales tax is not tacked onto mixed drinks for consumers. We're only taxed on beer and wine.

The bill was passed during the regular legislative session. It decreases the tax restaurants pay on liquor sales to 6.7 percent from 14 percent.

Right now, consumers are charged 8.25 percent on beer and wine at a restaurant, but mixed drinks are tax-free. We will now be taxed 8.25 percent.

Restaurateurs say dropping their liquor tax rate and raising the consumers' is just shifting numbers.

"The tax has been there. It was really embedded into the price of the drink. So a customer has always paid it, it's just been part of the pricing structure that various restaurants have depending on the operation," said Reginald Martin, president-elect of the Houston Restaurant Association. "So it was always part of the sale, it just wasn't seen by the customer on the ticket itself."

So with a new tax on your favorite concoction could it cost more?

"I don't mind the tax at all. I would still purchase drinks even if there was a tax increase," consumer Courtney Hamilton said.

Christine Gomez, a rep for El Tiempo Cantina, says at the end of the day, restaurants must stay competitive.

"I don't see that here at least at our establishment. We are not going to quickly increase our beverage prices," Gomez said.

Most are just hoping that come 2014, their favorite entree and cocktail will total up to the same bill as it did now in 2013.

"I think at the end of the day, it's not really going to matter too much to the consumer that likes to enjoy a drink at the end of the day," consumer Gina Smith said.

According to the bill, the tax changes should generate $21 million for the state next year.

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