NYS $.05 Beer Bottle & Can Deposit

November 20th, 2018 • by Paul Leone
Paul Leone

Paul Leone

Paul Leone is the Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association.

If you bottle or can your own beer and sell it out of your tap room or self distribute your beer, this is critical information you need know to become a deposit initiator in New York State.

From the NYS Dept. of Tax & Finance website: “New York State’s Returnable Container Act requires every deposit initiator to collect a $.05 deposit on beverage containers containing less than one gallon of carbonated soft drinks, beer, malt beverages, wine coolers or water, sold in New York.”

Deposit Initiator

A deposit initiator is the first bottler, distributor, dealer or agent to collect the deposit on a beverage container sold in New York State. You’re a deposit initiator if you:

  • Bottle beverages in beverage containers with an established deposit.
  • Distribute beverages in beverage containers with an established deposit and you did not purchase the containers from a registered deposit initiator.
  • Sell beverages in beverage containers and you did not purchase the containers from a registered deposit initiator.
  • Act as an agent on behalf of a registered deposit initiator.
Requirements for Deposit Initiators

If you’re a deposit initiator you must:

  • Register online as a deposit initiator before you make any sales
  • Establish a refund value account
  • Keep track of all deposits that you collect
  • File quarterly reports and remit 80% of unclaimed deposits to the Tax Department online

Your Refund Value Account

You must establish a refund value account to hold the deposits for all beverage containers you sell and to reimburse customers on beverage containers they redeem. You will use this account to supply your filing information for each quarter and to transfer unclaimed deposits to the Tax Department.

At the end of the quarter, you must pay 80% of the balance in your account to the Tax Department. You can withdraw the deposit amounts redeemed by customers during the quarter. You can also withdraw the remaining 20% for your own use to reduce your account balance to zero. You may not use the refund value account to pay the handling charges authorized by law.
Reporting Periods by Quarter / Due Dates
  • March 1 – May 31 / June 20
  • June 1 – August 31 / September 20
  • September 1 – November 30 / December 20
  • December 1 – February 28 (29) / March 20


Deposit initiators could be subject to penalties if they fail to comply with the law in any of these ways:

  • failure to file beverage container reports,
  • failure to make quarterly payments, or
  • failure to maintain required accounts or records.

Penalties can be up to $1,000 for each quarter the failure occurs and an additional $1,000 for each quarter the failure continues. If you can establish that the failure was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, the Tax Department will cancel the penalties.

Helpful links


Create an account: https://www.tax.ny.gov/online/bus.htm

Step-by-Step Online Registration Instructions:




Thank you to our One Stop Shop, Stefan Fleming, for sharing this information.