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What Is the Sweetened Beverage Tax?

On January 1st, the Sweetened Beverage Tax went into effect in Seattle. The tax rate is 1.75 cents per ounce and is charged directly to distributors. Consumers may or may not see a price increase. Distributors are free to pass or not pass the added cost of the beverage tax on to retailers. Likewise, retailers may or may not pass the cost along to consumers.

Services funded by the proceeds of the beverage tax are intended to expand access to healthy and affordable food, close the food security gap, promote healthy nutrition choices, reduce disparities in social, developmental, and education readiness and learning for children, assist high school graduates to enter college, and expand services for the birth-to-five population and their families. A general fact sheet is here.

As part of the legislation, the Sweetened Beverage Tax Community Advisory Board was established by the City Council to advise and make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on programs and activities supported by the tax revenue.

More information on how the tax is collected is here.