Tax-Included Pricing and Requirements for Beer Vendors, Wineries and Certain Authorized Grocery Stores

The 2016 Fall Budget Bill introduced phased increases to the wine basic tax rates for purchases of wine and wine coolers manufactured by an owner of – and sold from – a wine boutique located in the shopping area of a grocery store authorized to sell the wine and wine coolers as an agent of the wine boutique owner. For the purposes of this publication, this distribution arrangement will be referred to as a wine boutique, and wine includes wine coolers.

Beer vendors, wineries and grocery stores with wine boutiques must make available to purchasers, by an approved method, information about the amount of taxes included in the price. This page addresses this requirement as well as the approved methods of providing such information.

This page provides general information. It is not exhaustive and does not replace the law found in the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996, and related regulations.

Tax‑included pricing

The retail price (i.e., purchases at a retail store and not licensed establishments) of a particular beer or wine is the same whether it is purchased at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store or one of its agency stores, The Beer Store, a brewery retail store, a winery retail store or a grocery store wine boutique. However, beer and wine taxes do not apply to all beer and wine sold in Ontario.

For example:

  • foreign imported beer is not subject to the beer tax
  • domestic and imported beer purchased from the LCBO (other than a southern agency store), or from a person who purchased from the LCBO (other than a southern agency store), is not subject to the beer tax
  • wine purchased from the LCBO, or from a person who purchased from the LCBO, is not subject to the wine tax, nor is wine purchased at a licensed establishment.

Tax-included retail pricing requirements

All winery retail stores, and authorized grocery stores with wine boutiques, must include all wine tax payable in their pricing.

Similarly, all beer vendors must sell their beer at a price that includes all beer tax payable.

Beer vendors include:

  • The Beer Store
  • establishments licensed under the Liquor Licence Act by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to sell liquor to the public (e.g., bars and restaurants)
  • (southern) agency stores of the LCBO, and
  • authorized beer manufacturers that sell beer from their brewery retail store.

List of microbrewers

As the beer basic tax rate that applies to the beer depends on whether the beer was manufactured by a microbrewer or not, the ministry will post a list containing the names of beer manufacturers that are microbrewers, and the brands of beer they manufacture for each sales year, at ontario.ca/beerbrands.

A sales year is a 12‑month period commencing March 1st. If March 1st is a Saturday or Sunday, the sales year commences the following Monday.

Information for purchasers

Beer and wine taxes contained in invoices

Beer vendors, wineries and authorized grocery stores with wine boutiques may provide the amount of the beer and wine taxes payable on the invoices issued to purchasers.

Beer and wine taxes not contained in invoices

Where an invoice is not provided detailing the amount of beer and wine taxes payable,

  1. Beer vendors must post in a prominent location of the premises where the beer is sold, or provide to purchasers, an information sheet specifying:
    • the current beer tax rates (basic, volume and environmental) applicable to draft and non-draft beer made by an Ontario beer manufacturer or an Ontario microbrewer, and
    • a reference to the ministry's website at ontario.ca/finance for further information, including the list of beer manufacturers considered microbrewers for the sales year.

    If the beer vendor also sells draft beer made at a brew pub by the holder of a liquor sales licence with a brew pub endorsement for that brew pub, the information sheet must also specify the current beer tax rates applicable to draft beer made at a brew pub.

  2. Wineries and authorized grocery stores with wine boutiques must post in a prominent location where the wine is sold, or provide to purchasers, an information sheet specifying:
    • the current wine tax rates (basic, volume and environmental) applicable to wine
    • information on what is considered Ontario wine under the Act
    • information on how the retail price of the wine is determined under the Act, and
    • a reference to the ministry's website at ontario.ca/finance for further information.

Note: The information sheet for beer vendors will be updated by the ministry each year to reflect the annual adjustment of the beer basic tax rates.

Request for written interpretations

If this information does not completely address your particular situation, refer to the Act and related regulations, or contact the ministry at:

Ministry of Finance
Advisory Services
33 King Street West, 3rd Floor
Oshawa ON L1H 8H5

Fax: 905-436‑4471

For more information

Visit ontario.ca/finance or contact the Ministry of Finance at 1‑866‑ONT‑TAXS (1‑866‑668‑8297) or 1‑800‑263‑7776 for teletypewriter (TTY).

The Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996, and Ontario's other public statutes and regulations may be obtained online at ontario.ca/e‑laws.

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