November 18, 2016

City launches soda tax registration website, outreach program

With a little more than a month until the soda tax officially takes effect, city officials launched a registration website for distributors and dealers and shared details of an outreach program Friday.

The controversial new rule that's even facing a lawsuit will begin Jan. 1 and will mean a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on the distribution of sweetened drinks, syrups and concentrates used to make sodas and other sugary drinks. Distributors of those products, as well as dealers who don't buy from registered distributors, are required to register to the website – phillybevtax.com – by Dec. 31 in order to comply with the new tax.

“First and foremost, this tax is about empowering our city to move full speed ahead toward a better Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a news release Friday. “The revenue from the Philly Bev Tax will help us tackle these debilitating issues head-on. By implementing this tax and focusing funds on schooling, recreation centers, parks, and libraries, we open a world of possibilities up to our children, and we give them the head start as well as the foundations for growth that can take them down the path to bright futures.”

The outreach program, that involves meetings, presentations and other resources, will help distributors and dealers better understand the new tax and how it'll impact them.

The tax was passed into law on June 20 and is slated to generate about $410 million over the next five years that will be used to help early-childhood education as well as other city resources.

The first payment for the distributors is due Feb 20.